Tikki Tikki Tembo

September 5, 2018
Subheader: 

Tikki Tikki? No. No.

If the mother were punished for her callous treatment of her children, especially the youngest, then maybe her behavior would act as an anti-example. But as it is, with no repentance or personal consequences (only her eldest son suffers for it), I don't want this read to my kids. I don't want her behavior modeled for them. I don't want them to worry I'll ignore them if they fall down a well, or treat them differently based on their age alone. And I don't want them to feel that either of them is worthless. Not even in a relative sense.

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Message: 

Chinese people are exactly like Japanese people, except with stupid (nonexistent) traditions. Also, among siblings, only the oldest son is important and everybody else is basically disposable.

Corduroy

September 3, 2018
Subheader: 

This must be a book! I think I've always wanted to review a book.

There's not much to it. There's no conflict. There's no character development. It's pretty basic. It's just like a fantasy of what a toy bear might do if he realized that he'd lost a button.

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Message: 

It feels good to be loved.

Tell Me About Sex, Grandma

September 1, 2018
Subheader: 

A case of style over substance.

This book barely skims the surface of the topic, but it skims it well. But it's not enough to answer the larger, underlying question of what sex actually is. It's incomplete, and it reads more like a meditation on the process of talking to children about sex than an actual instructive book. I would love to see a thorough, detailed book about sex written in this style. It drew me in through its conversational tone, but left me wanting something more substantial. The artwork is great, as well.

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Message: 

Sex is wonderful, but it's personal, and it's something that everybody involved has to agree to.

Call for Cybils Judges

September 1, 2018

The Cybils organizers are looking for this year's group of judges. They say, "Are you a reader who loves children's and young adult books? This call is for you. We need some wonderful book bloggers who are interested in reading a lot of children's or young adult books, reviewing them, and choosing the best of the best for the 2018 Cybils Awards."

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Super Duper Safety School: Safety Rules For Kids & Grown-Ups!

August 30, 2018
Subheader: 

Super duper disappointment.

I totally understand what she's trying to say, and it's an incredibly important message, but the writing and the illustrations are so bad that I just can't get past them. It's really disappointing, because I think a book would be very helpful in explaining this to my kids. But this is not that book, at least not for me. Maybe I need to write my own.

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Message: 

Watch out for tricky people because they are thumbs-down.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

August 26, 2018
Subheader: 

Because pythons are paranoid and iguanas are grumpy.

Maybe the book is trying to say, "Don't tell lies," but the message that comes out is that people will blame you for things that are clearly not your fault. While this is a true message, it's not necessarily an ideal one.

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Message: 

People will blame you for things that are clearly not your fault.

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue

August 24, 2018
Subheader: 

As the title of another book says, children are delicious.

It's just goofy in a way that makes me think of "A Very Special House" (also illustrated by Maurice Sendak). It parodies other moralizing stories where the child is a brat from the beginning and gets his comeuppance, realizing that maybe he should be nicer to people.

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Message: 

It's important to care about some things.

Strega Nona

August 22, 2018
Subheader: 

More like, "Underneath spaghetti."

So he disobeys her, but she doesn't punish him cruelly for it. His "crime" doesn't deserve death. The only person he really wronged in this case is Strega Nona, because it was her pot.

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Message: 

Don't be vindictive. Or, don't take things without permission.

Rumpelstiltskin

August 21, 2018
Subheader: 

I wish this fairy tale would never be heard from again.

How she planned on keeping up this charade isn't discussed. Sure, the king happens to stop at three rooms full of gold for unknown reasons, but what if he had continued? What horrible things would the miller's daughter be forced to trade away?

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Message: 

Life sucks unless you're the one in charge (especially if you're a woman). Good luck, you'll need it to escape the capricious whims of the powerful.

Hank and Stella in: Something from Nothing

August 18, 2018
Subheader: 

Could be a bigger something from nothing.

It's a solid book, but I wasn't grabbed by the story. It's definitely well written. It's written in rhyme, and the meter and rhymes are very solid, but the story is somewhat contrived. The artwork is not stylistically amazing, but it's good enough not to be distracting, and the art style fits well with the story that's going on.

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Message: 

Here's how to do improvisation while you play.

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