This is Not My Hat

September 30, 2017
Subheader: 

Seriously, Mr. Klassen, what is it with the hats?

The main character is a jerk, and the main character gets karma. Maybe children like this kind of sociopathic protagonist and the ensuing comeuppance.

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Message: 

"It's wrong to steal a hat."

My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

September 29, 2017
Subheader: 

In Soviet Ukraine, your mother is beautiful to you!

It's a really sweet message, but to get there they had to jump through so many hoops and pad the book with so many unrelated things like baking cakes and dances and accordion music. The story just meanders before it gets there. It's not a bad story; it just doesn't go anywhere.

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Message: 

"We don't love people because they're beautiful; people are beautiful because we love them."

Play With Me

September 28, 2017
Subheader: 

Don't touch that chipmunk. You don't know where it's been.

On the last page, she is sitting on the edge of a pond, surrounded by animals that are just chilling with her. It's kind of weird and looks disturbing, because she's maybe 6 or 8 years old, without supervision, next to a snake... Who knows what other creatures could be lurking in the bushes other than that fawn? Bears? Foxes? Something dangerous could be out there.

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Message: 

Sit still and be quiet, and forest creatures will approach you.

The Train to Timbuctoo

September 27, 2017
Subheader: 

Oddly, there are several cities named Kalamazoo and at least 2 in the US named Timbuctoo.

I think I would perform violence on somebody, possibly myself, if I was required to read this on a regular basis, especially out loud. I'm getting real sick of people telling me children learn by repetition. I have ceased to care.

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Message: 

None.

Guess How Much I Love You

June 28, 2017
Subheader: 

I love you more! No, I love you more!

It's kind of nice in that it's the story of a male authority figure performing the typically "motherly" task of putting a child to sleep. And this is very easily relatable, with nothing explicitly saying that Big is Little's father, or grandfather, or uncle, or anything specific. But because it's so generic, there's not much to it. Basically, the kid keeps telling the adult, "I love you this much," and the adult keeps responding, "Well, I love you this much," and it's always more.

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Message: 

Families love each other.

Inch by Inch

May 20, 2017
Subheader: 

Oh, yeah? Measure this, pal!

There's a message and kind of a moral here that both break down due to presentation in an anthropomorphic universe. You start wondering why exactly the birds are eating something as intelligent as they are, and whether that wouldn't be cruel, and you get into questions that you really weren't planning to get into while reading your toddler a board book.

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Message: 

People will threaten to kill you if you don't entertain them.

Dragon Dancing

May 12, 2017
Subheader: 

The best thing about dragons is nobody can tell you you're making them look wrong.

It's just kids having fun together and making something bigger than they are and playing with it, and having fun with their imaginations.

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Message: 

Dragons are awesome.

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