good

The Wolves in the Walls

October 31, 2018
Subheader: 

Great book, just not for the younger crowd.

I really loved the fact that Lucy is not only the one who figures out what is happening before anybody else does, but challenges everybody else on why they are actually afraid of this. But it's never outright pointed out that there's no reason to be afraid of it, and even at the end when the wolves are shown running away from the house, the family brandishing their chair legs, it's still done in a creepy style, the wolves and people as silhouettes, with weird smoke in the sky and a dark house. The idea is great, the execution is great, it's just not for the fainthearted child.

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Message: 

Just because something is traditional, that doesn't mean it's right. And don't be afraid of wolves in the walls.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

October 29, 2018
Subheader: 

Let's try to understand each other a little bit more.

I think it's a great book, because it shows something that kids, like my four-year-old, would totally do. When he had a new pair of shoes, he walked into preschool telling everybody about them, even though we got there late and the teacher was talking to the other kids. He can't hold his enthusiasm inside, and that's an extremely common thing for kids. They have to learn respect for other people and their time, especially when others are trying to learn in a group context.

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Message: 

Making a mistake is not permanent. You can fix things that you did wrong. Or, when you're at school, you need to let the teacher talk without distracting the other children.

Jacob's New Dress

October 21, 2018
Subheader: 

100% terrific.

That is such an awesome, empowering ending! It's so realistic, because if you have somebody bothering you about that kind of thing, they're not going to magically transform their minds. Maybe in the future, Christopher will come to terms with it. Maybe he won't. But the important thing is that Jacob understands that it's not Christopher's choice what he wears. It's up to Jacob. It's his body, and his clothes. He's proud of the dress that he and his mother made together.

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Message: 

Anybody can wear any clothes that they want. Things are not reserved for people by gender.

Death is Stupid

October 5, 2018
Subheader: 

Death is stupid. This book is not.

I'd have absolutely no problem reading this to my child if they were dealing with death. I probably wouldn't spring it on them out of nowhere, but I think it would be very helpful to children who had a loved one pass away, and help the parents open up conversation with the child about it.

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Message: 

Death is stupid, and here are some ways of dealing with it.

How Babies are Made

October 17, 2018
Subheader: 

If it mentioned cesareans, it would be near perfect.

It's not a perfect book, but it's a great foundation. And the illustration style, where it can be very detailed in some parts of images, and quite abstract in others, works very well for the topic. It's a nice contrast to the weirdly cartoony images and metaphors of "Where Did I Come From?" There are no descriptions of how anything feels, just a factual recounting of events.

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Message: 

The basic details of human reproduction.

Five Minutes' Peace

October 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Good for kids and parents, too.

I think that any mother of small children can identify with loving your children and wanting to be with them, but needing a break now and then. Of course, your children just want to be with you, because they love you, and you're the most entertaining thing in their lives. They want to read to you, and give you presents, but that's not what you need. You need "me time."

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Message: 

Although parents love their children, sometimes they need breaks.

My Body Belongs to Me

October 7, 2018
Subheader: 

Body autonomy for the win.

It has a really terrific message. I think it's very well executed. The artwork is decent. I mean, it's not going to win any awards, but it's self-consistent and clear what's going on in the pictures. The ambiguity in the child's gender is great, and he's also depicted as biracial. I love how it stresses that if someone touches you inappropriately, it's not your fault.

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Message: 

If somebody touches you inappropriately, it's not your fault. Tell someone you trust.

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.

It's Not the Stork!

August 14, 2018
Subheader: 

It's not the stork. Maybe it's a penguin?

The only drawback I found in this book is its lack of mention of transgender or intersex people. This is otherwise a very thorough book. It's got cute little illustrations, but they're usually fairly realistic. At the beginning, it just says that girls and boys can do the same things, but girls and women have a vagina, and boys and men have a penis, and there's other things that are different.

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Message: 

Where babies come from. Also, don't let anybody touch you in a way you don't want them to.

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