bad

The Story of Little Black Sambo

July 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Because there are so many tigers on the old plantations.

This book is only bad because of Helen Bannerman's original racist drawings and the names of the characters. The characters don't act in a particularly stereotypical way, and the message of the book isn't inherently bad. Clearly the story is set in India, and I don't know why Bannerman decided to draw the characters as awful stereotypes from the American South.

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Message: 

Black people have certain exaggerated features.

The Hole Book

June 21, 2018
Subheader: 

Gun safety? What gun safety?

The more I think about this book and the more I learn about it, the worse it gets. On the other hand, I could see an updated version of this book becoming mildly popular. Maybe someone bounces a bouncy ball and it keeps going? It doesn't need to be a gun.

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Message: 

Don't worry about guns; they won't hurt you.

The Ugly Duckling

May 26, 2018
Subheader: 

I don't think most people know what the story really says.

Who gets to decide what's beautiful? Because I would imagine that swans find cygnets beautiful. It's just that he's in the wrong company for his beauty to be recognized. Why do humans even think swans are pretty, and why does the ugly duckling give a fig whether humans think he's pretty?

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Message: 

Being pretty is more important than anything else in the world.

Jim's Lion

May 4, 2018
Subheader: 

When you wish upon a black person...

It's never stated where in "Africa" the woman is from. The only thing you ever learn about her is that she's a nurse (which is, don't get me wrong, a respectable profession). But she's basically the "Magical Negro" (TV Tropes). She's the vaguely different character who is more in touch with nature that helps the white person by giving him "deep spiritual wisdom" (TV Tropes). It's not okay to treat other cultures that way.

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Message: 

Black people have magic powers and will help you get through illnesses. Or, operations are scary and dangerous.

Tadpole's Promise

May 6, 2018
Subheader: 

Hm, I just grew legs. Whatevs.

Maybe it's like it's supposed to be a tragic love story that's got kind of a hint of poetic irony underneath it? This book upsets me. I do not like this book.

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Message: 

Lovers are doomed to eat each other. Or, you will destroy everything you love.

The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers

April 26, 2018
Subheader: 

Contrived story, contrived ending, poor writing.

The best part: When Brother Bear and Sister Bear are breaking up the fight between the Nerds and the Troublemakers, Cousin Fred (a Nerd) gets involved. "'Let's remember what it says in the Bible,' said Cousin Fred who liked to memorize things. '"Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."' 'Huh?' Said Too-Tall. 'What's that supposed to mean?' 'It means that if you make peace,' explained Ferdy, 'You will get a rich reward.' 'Oh, cool,' said Too-Tall." People don't talk like that. It's just awkward and bizarre.

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Message: 

Don't fight because the Bible says not to.

Nerdy Birdy Tweets

April 12, 2018
Subheader: 

Inaccurate, technophobic message only conveyed through sexism ex machina.

I'm getting tired of this message. "Social media is bad. Social media is taking over the world. We are neglecting our real friends in favor of social media. People who are on social media all the time cannot deal with real life."

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Message: 

Social media is bad. Social media friends aren't really your friends.

Little T Learns to Share (T. O.'s Time Outs)

January 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Sharing might be caring, but leave some room for independence.

The good part of the book is that Little T comes to the understanding on his own, and that nobody lectures him about sharing (well, until after he's decided it on his own). He realizes that he made a mistake, he goes back and rectifies the problem, and the reason that he starts to share is because he realizes that's what he wanted to do all along. But framing it as, "You need to always share every moment of the day," is just ridiculous. It's not going to work, either.

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Message: 

Always be sharing.

Geraldine's Blanket

December 22, 2017
Subheader: 

Jerk parents are jerks.

While I don't like the way the parents act in this book, I do like the child's solution to it. I guess some parents are like that. I'm not. It's definitely not a good book, but she's got a very creative solution to it that her parents are just bemused by. "Oh well, those kids and their blankets. What are you gonna do?"

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Message: 

You have to get rid of your favorite toy when you get older.

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