Wagon Wheels

October 22, 2017
Subheader: 

Child endangerment in the 1870s.

So it's a fictionalized account of a story that somebody told about somebody else. I'm not saying for sure it's inaccurate, but tales do change in the telling and retelling. It's definitely not something somebody would do today.

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Message: 

Children in the 1870s had pretty stark lives. Or, persistence is important.

Green Eggs and Ham

October 20, 2017
Subheader: 

In the words of Ponyo, "HAM!"

If you take it from the perspective that a child will likely take it, I'm probably reading too much into it. A child will look at it and think, "Oh, there's a lot of food I don't like, and my parents sometimes resort to ridiculous lengths in order to get me to eat food that I claim to not like, and it sometimes turns out that I like it," so I think they'll identify with that. I guess the important part is that the main character does like it.

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Message: 

Try new foods. Or, if you keep annoying somebody enough, they'll give in to what you're asking for.

My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things

October 18, 2017
Subheader: 

Maybe there aren't any ghosts, but there definitely are things.

I guess the lack of realism in the drawings of the monsters is what made this not as scary to me as a child, and that monsters were not really what I worried about. The realism of the story and the humanizing of the mother are really good.

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Message: 

Parents are human, too, but they really love you and want what's best for you.

I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words

October 16, 2017
Subheader: 

Poetic primer.

It's just a list of words. It's a rhyming list of words, so maybe that's a little bit entertaining. But there's nothing to it. There's no story. The rhyming is the only thing that could possibly keep your attention in this. It's decent rhyming, and decent meter, so what it's trying to do it does well, but in my opinion it's not trying to do enough, and comes off as disappointing.

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Message: 

None.

Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?

October 14, 2017
Subheader: 

But if it's such a great pet, why is it being sold cheap?

It's really cute. I would think that most children wouldn't get the emotional bits and would just think it was a funny book about having a rhinoceros for a pet. And it is funny. There's definitely no bad message to this. I don't think a child would actually get the impression from this that rhinoceroses make good pets. It's more or less a book of imagination, whimsy, and nonsense, and Shel Silverstein is a master of all three.

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Message: 

None.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss's Book of Wonderful Noises!

October 12, 2017
Subheader: 

Onomatopoetic poetry.

There's nothing really to it. It's enjoyable and light. My kids enjoy making funny noises. Silly things are attractive to children. The imaginative, whimsical aspects of this book are great. There's no real message to it, but it might encourage children to use their imagination and be more descriptive of things.

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Message: 

None.

How I Learned Geography

October 6, 2017
Subheader: 

Don't know much about geography...

It's an autobiographical story. The author says he was about 4 or 5 when the map was first bought, and eventually he became a well-respected children's illustrator and writer.

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Message: 

Even a small thing can change your life and spark your passion.

The Story About Ping

October 5, 2017
Subheader: 

Duck, duck, abuse.

Nothing like this would be written today. It's just so a product of its time. Even back then, I think the message was: If your family is abusive to you, suck it up because home is where you belong. Nobody would write a book with that message nowadays!

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Message: 

It's better to be with your family even if they are physically abusive.

Many Moons

October 4, 2017
Subheader: 

When King Daddy promises the moon, he delivers.

It's kind of bad in that it turns out that none of them are really correct about the moon. It is super big and super far away, and they couldn't have really gotten it for him, but I think the real message is that everybody's opinion is equally important, even children.

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Message: 

Try to understand things from others' point of view.

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