Sparkle Boy

July 31, 2018
Subheader: 

Sparkle, sparkle, little boy.

I don't find this realistic, and I don't find the change in the older sibling meaningful. They aren't accepting the behavior because of its inherent harmlessness (or even benefits), they are merely switching sides, like they're the only one allowed to insult their sibling.

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Message: 

It's okay for boys to wear sparkly dresses.

Heather Has Two Mommies

July 29, 2018
Subheader: 

The only interesting thing about it is the title. And someday, even that won't be interesting.

It's one of those books whose mere existence is important. It's a revolutionary book concept, but the book itself is just okay.

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Message: 

Children with two mommies are just like any other child.

Why Am I Me?

July 27, 2018
Subheader: 

Why anything, really?

It feels pretentious, and it doesn't say anything. I guess it's pretty. That's what the people quoted on the back seem to be raving about: how pretty it is. I'm just lost. I can't get anything out of this book except the message, "People are different."

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Message: 

Different people are different.

Madeline

July 25, 2018
Subheader: 

Not sure how this book kicked off a series. Not enough to read in 1939?

It's more annoying than anything else. It doesn't do anything for me. It's not imparting any knowledge to me. It's not interesting. It's just fairly mediocre, and the art is not very well done in my opinion.

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Message: 

Appendicitis is fun!

The Snowy Day

July 23, 2018
Subheader: 

Everybody can have fun in the snow.

Nothing bad here, but nothing great. Groundbreaking for its time, but it didn't hold my attention at all. It's well-written and well-illustrated, but the story is pretty boring.

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Message: 

Playing in the snow is fun.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

July 21, 2018
Subheader: 

Because when I think of goblins, I think of Hanukkah.

For all its talk about the power of the menorah, almost all the references to Hanukkah could really be swapped out with any kind of magical system and the story would be basically the same. When I teach my children about Hanukkah, I'll use a different method, because I prefer to stick to the facts of a culture. If this was like a traditional Jewish folktale, that might be different.

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Message: 

Goblins are easy to fool. Or, Hanukkah is totally awesome.

There's a Monster in Your Book

July 19, 2018
Subheader: 

But why?

Yes, it's silly, but it doesn't really go anywhere, and for me the interaction with the monster and the shaking and everything is all more contrived than, say, Hervé Tullet's "Press Here". "Press Here" doesn't imply that there's an inherent reason that you're interacting with the book except for its own sake, which is cool. This book just says, "There's a monster. Let's get him out. No, never mind, let's put him back." It's definitely not bad; it's just that it doesn't make me care.

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Message: 

None.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

July 17, 2018
Subheader: 

Poor kid should've drawn a map.

It's an adventure book, and it's a kind of a testament to the power of imagination, the power of curiosity and bravery. I think it's a great book. It's very simple. It has kind of a high number of pages, but they don't have that many words, and the words aren't long.

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Message: 

Imagination is awesome.

You Don’t Want a Unicorn!

July 15, 2018
Subheader: 

Boys can like unicorns, too.

In this book, the narrator is constantly warning the boy from the beginning, and the boy doesn't listen and the narrator is clearly more knowledgeable about unicorns than the boy. So it's literally a wish, and he gets exactly what he asked for. It just turns out to be different from what he expected.

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Message: 

Be careful what you wish for.

Outside Over There

July 13, 2018
Subheader: 

These goblins and their weddings, amirite?

I really liked the relationship--the tenderness and compassion--from the older sister to the younger sister. Dealing with babies is hard. The mother's clearly mentally checked-out already.

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Message: 

Take responsibility for your actions.

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