The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth

February 3, 2018
Subheader: 

I wanna rock and, erm, rock, all night.

I think it's obvious that school buses don't randomly start spinning. Nobody needs to state that. It's the more bizarre things, the things that the kids are doing that are clearly dangerous, rather than the weird and frivolous happenings that they need to be drawing attention to.

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Message: 

Kids need to learn about rocks and the layers of the earth.

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

February 1, 2018
Subheader: 

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, except if it used to be an Indian girl.

It falls kind of in the low end of "meh." I'd kind of be annoyed if people were reading this to my kids, but I wouldn't stop them. I don't think that children actually get the idea that they should run away and live with horses.

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Message: 

Respect animals?

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are

January 28, 2018
Subheader: 

Is this a specific kind of cuisine I'm unfamiliar with?

The story is okay, it's just the writing that's poor. It's a picture book, intended for adults to read to children. A parent is going to be there. You don't need to have your characters do something, and then explain why they did the right thing. You're not adding anything new just by repeating what just happened with a cliche description. That's not the same thing as explaining things in a different way.

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Message: 

Being different is good. Or, be nice to everybody even if they're a jerk to you.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

January 21, 2018
Subheader: 

Not to be confused with "Tigers Gone Wild."

It's a weird book. It's got a message but I'm not sure it effectively communicates that message. I guess Mr. Tiger's benevolent rampage convinces everybody else that they should be a little less stuck-up?

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Message: 

It's important to go crazy every once in a while.

My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)

January 17, 2018
Subheader: 

Teachers are people too. (Whacka-doo, whacka-doo, whacka-doo.)

When you're interacting with people in a prescribed setting, sometimes it's easy to forget and just treat them like automatons. But you have to remember that every person around you has the same kind of inner life as you do. Even if they don't have the same wants and desires as you, they still have wants and desires, and they're still worthy of respect.

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Message: 

Even if teachers sometimes act mean, they're human beings too.

How Roland Rolls

January 15, 2018
Subheader: 

Rollin', rollin', rollin', RAWHIDE

This is such a badly-written book, it inspired me to create a new category. I can't call it "bad" because I've reserved that rating for terrible morals, so I've come up with the new rating "poor."

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Message: 

You're a part of everything, but you won't realize it until after you're dead.

Imogene's Antlers

January 13, 2018
Subheader: 

Life is easier when you make the most of what you've got.

It's just wonderful to see somebody being happy with their differences rather than being upset like so many other books. So much of reality is people being told, "You can't do that" or "You can't be that way," and this girl is just like, "I am that way, so deal with it. This is who I am now, and I'm proud of it."

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Message: 

Differences are something that can be celebrated.

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