meh

Each Kindness

December 30, 2018
Subheader: 

Missed opportunity is more dramatic than actual reformation.

"The Hundred Dresses" is almost identical in storyline to "Each Kindness." All the kids make fun of a poor girl, and at the end, the girl moves away and the main character is depressed by what happened. Basically, the main characters need to see someone else suffer in order to grow, and they don't realize the opportunity they had until it's gone.

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Message: 

Be nice to people for niceness's sake. Or, you never realize how much of a jerk you were until after the fact.

William's Doll

December 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Not as good as it probably used to be.

This book was probably great for its time (1972). I think it's a bit outdated in execution, although the message still resonates today. This book was at the beginning of teaching people about the topic, and it deserves some historical credit for that.

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Message: 

There's nothing wrong with boys wanting dolls.

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals

December 23, 2018
Subheader: 

Tries too hard to be funny, and doesn't quite deliver.

I'm definitely in support of all books that try to take the parent into account. If this book entertains parents enough to want to read it to a pre-verbal child, I think that's great. But overall, I was not that impressed by it. It's not great, it's just okay.

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Message: 

Baby, you are loved.

The Daddy Book

December 2, 2018
Subheader: 

Pretty run-of-the-mill Todd Parr.

It's nothing to run out and buy unless you're starved for books about daddies, and I think there are a lot of those out there. It's the kind of thing that would fit right in at a pediatrician's office: bland, rather inclusive, and inoffensive.

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Message: 

There are lots of different kinds of daddies.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

November 25, 2018
Subheader: 

Describes the problem, but offers no real solutions.

I'm conflicted about this book. I haven't been around anybody with untreated bipolar disorder (which, according to the author's note, is what this book is supposed to depict the mother as having), but given some anecdotal evidence from friends, the mother's behavior is not very common for those who suffer from bipolar, and seems more like someone suffering from drug or alcohol addiction.

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Message: 

Some parents have mental illness.

Making Animal Babies

November 18, 2018
Subheader: 

Useful for animals, not for people.

I guess you could technically use this to describe where babies come from to a kid but that doesn't seem to be its purpose. It spends so much time discussing other things that aren't relevant to human sexuality that either the writer was just really interested in different types of animal reproduction (I mean, it is mildly interesting that sponges, say, reproduce by budding), or was intentionally trying to obscure the information about people. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just assume he was a reproductive biologist.

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Message: 

Different animals reproduce in different ways.

The Gruffalo

October 25, 2018
Subheader: 

Nobody's as gruff as a gruffalo.

As in most "trickster tales", it relies on the "tricked" characters being complete idiots. For me, this doesn't paint the trickster as clever or intelligent, just lucky and dishonest. If the mouse wasn't trying to save his own life, this would have a bad message, but as it is, it's just middle-of-the-road. It's perfectly reasonable to lie to somebody to save your own life.

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Message: 

People who try to hurt you are stupid, and will fall for obvious tricks.

Who Has What?: All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies

October 27, 2018
Subheader: 

Doesn't tackle the hard questions.

It doesn't talk about, or even leave room for transgender or intersex people. It's really basic. It takes the entire book to basically only say: 'Girls have vaginas, ovaries, and uteruses, and boys have penises and sperm.' That's it. That is the only information you can get from this book.

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Message: 

Boys and girls have different bodies.

Amazing You

October 23, 2018
Subheader: 

Not enough here to be useful.

It's not really helpful. It's just not useful to anybody having a complex discussion. I mean, yeah, preschoolers are going to understand it, but there's important things you need to be discussing with preschoolers in addition to this-- People not touching them inappropriately and similar ideas, because you need to really talk about that before it might happen.

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Message: 

Boys and girls have different bodies, and different parts of them are used in making babies somehow.

Everyone Poops

October 19, 2018
Subheader: 

Surprisingly boring.

I am attempting to not encourage that sort of humor in my children. I'm not trying to discourage it, but I'm also trying to make sure that they're not ashamed of the fact that they poop. I guess if a child had a shameful association with defecation, maybe this would be a useful book to them. It's very factual.

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Message: 

Everyone poops.

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