meh

Lucky Song

December 14, 2017
Subheader: 

I feel lucky I don't have to read this again.

The book is just a list of "She wanted X" and "So she did Y." The only thing that really happens is her flying a kite. And at the end it tells you to restart the book from the beginning. It doesn't go anywhere, doesn't say anything, and is just a list of mundane events, making it boring.

Read more...
Message: 

None.

George Washington's Teeth

December 12, 2017
Subheader: 

I cannot tell a lie. But this book can.

The book almost seems like it's trying to set the record straight about Washington never actually having wooden teeth, but it fails at this because it's not accurate about what actually did happen, even according to its own timeline! At least it's not marketed as a non-fiction book, but kids aren't going to know that, and most parents probably won't even notice. But I guess ultimately the book isn't really about what the teeth are made out of, it's about dealing with problems.

Read more...
Message: 

Washington had problems with his teeth that were completely fixed by hippopotamus ivory dentures.

Big Red Lollipop

December 10, 2017
Subheader: 

Maybe she was just hangry.

Parents need to be a voice of reason, and curtail the behavior of the youngest children when it encroaches on the rights and happiness of the elder, just as they would tell the older child to stop pushing over the youngest when the youngest is learning to walk and much smaller. And parents also need to understand that children are often better judges of the attitudes of their peers than parents, especially when cultural differences are involved. I hope I never act like the mother in this book.

Read more...
Message: 

Younger siblings are jerks, but if you respect and forgive them they'll grow out of it.

Apple Pie 4th of July

December 6, 2017
Subheader: 

Chinese-Americans are Americans, too.

What does this mean? Is it just pointing out that Americans don't get takeout for lunch on July 4th? What does the normal customer flow at the restaurant look like? I have no frame of reference here. Is the girl wrong? Right?

Read more...
Message: 

Parents understand more than you think. Or, Americans like Chinese food every day.

Baby Can

November 24, 2017
Subheader: 

But a baby is too big to fit in a can...

I think it's important for older siblings to understand that the reason that adults do that is because the younger sibling previously couldn't do those things. It's not that people are saying that there's anything inherently special about being able to sit up, but that there's something special about this person sitting up. And while it's important to pay as much attention to both siblings, just patronizing the older child and feigning interest in their ability to do things like sit up isn't really a good long term solution.

Read more...
Message: 

Older children can do the same things babies can do.

If at First You Do Not See

December 4, 2017
Subheader: 

This caterpillar misplaced his hookah.

What on earth? This is an acid trip of a book. It's a series of images that appear different when turned upside-down. So it looks like a basket of fruit when the book is right-side-up, but if you turn it upside-down it kind of looks like a man. It kind of reminds me of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the painter who made lots of surreal portraits entirely out of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other things.

Read more...
Message: 

None.

Henry's First-Moon Birthday

December 2, 2017
Subheader: 

And I thought only six weeks of maternity leave was bad.

It's okay. It's not bad, but it's not the best book ever. If you're trying to aggressively multicultural-ize your young child, this might help. It's certainly not offensive. The characters perform tasks that are pretty much broken down by traditional gender roles, though (father fixing car, mother cleaning, grandmother cooking, etc.).

Read more...
Message: 

Chinese people celebrate first-month birthdays in this way.

Mabela the Clever

November 28, 2017
Subheader: 

Clever girl.

It's a good example of a story where cleverness wins the day versus cleverness rather than versus fools. She's not particularly clever, though, she's just observant and surrounded by oblivious mice.

Read more...
Message: 

Pay attention to what's going on around you so that dangerous things don't happen to you.

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen

November 22, 2017
Subheader: 

Published in 2014, the heyday of hula hooping.

She says that her neighbor is like a grandma to her, and took care of her mother when her mother was little, and then took care of her when she was little, and all this girl does is hula hoop. How did her neighbor not know that she hula hoops? And how did her neighbor not tell her that she also hula hooped as a kid? And now I have semantic satiation with the phrase "hula hoop" which is like the goofiest phrase in the world.

Read more...
Message: 

Own up to your mistakes and everything will turn out okay in a deus ex machina kind of way.

Houses from the Sea

November 20, 2017
Subheader: 

My shells, let me show you them.

Shells are cool, but these kids are basically obsessed with them. One of the last pages says, "When friends come in/to play on rainy days/we show them all our shells./We tell their names,/just where we found them,/and all about the day/the waves ran up to meet us." These children must be the most boring people to hang out with! "You want to look at my shells again??" No, no I don't want to look at your dang shells! Don't they like, play? Like normal children? "Shells... shells... would you like to look at my shells?"

Read more...
Message: 

Shells are the most amazing things ever.

Pages