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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.

The Spider and the Fly

August 6, 2018
Subheader: 

"Will you walk a little faster?" Said a whiting to a snail. "There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail."

Like the spider says, it's not a twist ending. Nowadays, we don't expect the endings of kids' stories to be quite as dark. Evil wins. One of the main characters is devoured by the other. In retrospect, horror is an obvious motif.

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Message: 

Beware of people who try to flatter you to trick you into doing things.

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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