meh

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

July 21, 2018
Subheader: 

Because when I think of goblins, I think of Hanukkah.

For all its talk about the power of the menorah, almost all the references to Hanukkah could really be swapped out with any kind of magical system and the story would be basically the same. When I teach my children about Hanukkah, I'll use a different method, because I prefer to stick to the facts of a culture. If this was like a traditional Jewish folktale, that might be different.

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Message: 

Goblins are easy to fool. Or, Hanukkah is totally awesome.

There's a Monster in Your Book

July 19, 2018
Subheader: 

But why?

Yes, it's silly, but it doesn't really go anywhere, and for me the interaction with the monster and the shaking and everything is all more contrived than, say, Hervé Tullet's "Press Here". "Press Here" doesn't imply that there's an inherent reason that you're interacting with the book except for its own sake, which is cool. This book just says, "There's a monster. Let's get him out. No, never mind, let's put him back." It's definitely not bad; it's just that it doesn't make me care.

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Message: 

None.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

July 11, 2018
Subheader: 

You're a nice person. Here, have a prince.

Why does nobody else tell Mufaro, "Hey, Manyara is a jerk"? Or is she only a jerk to Nyasha? The summary says "Everyone--except Mufaro--knew that Manyara was selfish, bad-tempered, and spoiled." How does he not know? I guess she's clever enough to hide how much of a jerk she is.

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Message: 

Be kind, and you'll be rewarded.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

June 23, 2018
Subheader: 

What? Just... what? This-- I can't even-- Wow.

I think the message that people are getting from it, at least from the first half of the book, is "Don't let your misfortunes get you down." The back of the book has this quote: "'I may have been swallowed,' said the duck, 'but I have no intention of being eaten.'" But if that was the real message, then they absolutely would not want to stay in the stomach of the wolf at the end. The most accurate message I can get from the book is: "People in bad situations become so acclimated to them that it doesn't seem bad to them anymore." They actually start to like it, as in Stockholm Syndrome.

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Message: 

The life of a parasite is awesome?

Things to Do with Dad

June 29, 2018
Subheader: 

No doubt more child-appropriate than "101 Uses for a Dead Cat".

My brain doesn't know how to interpret this book, so I suppose you can make of it what you will. But I prefer my children's books to be a little less up to interpretation, because unfortunately my brain has a tendency to go in directions that are probably not intended.

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Message: 

Stop slacking and play with your kids more.

The Berenstain Bears' Valentine Party

June 17, 2018
Subheader: 

It's not even a party. It's just a school day.

The best part: On the second page, inside Sister Bear's backpack, is a Valentine that says "My", a symbol of a heart, then a picture of a pair of pants, and then "4 You." Is that "My heart pants for you?" Who says that? That's just bizarre. "My heart shorts for you?" "...jeans for you?" None of those make any sense. It's next to one that's got a picture of a bee and then says "mine" underneath, obviously "Be mine." That's pretty common. Maybe just "My pants for you?" A bit direct for grade school, don't you think?

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Message: 

Valentines are cool?

Go to Sleep, Little Farm

June 15, 2018
Subheader: 

Might bore the parent to sleep.

Interesting use of colors in the pictures. All the outside things are definitely desaturated because of the lack of light, so the pictures are good. The poetry doesn't flow TOO badly. Just kind of a gentle putting-you-to-sleep book that probably goes on for too long, but it's trying to go on for too long. Which is the weirdest thing to me.

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Message: 

Everything sleeps, even inanimate objects.

Jane Foster's Black and White

June 7, 2018
Subheader: 

Why doesn't anyone make interesting board books?

I guess this could technically teach babies things, but I've also seen toys that are covered with black-and-white patterns, and I think a baby would find that exactly as interesting as this book. So the words are superfluous, and that's not really a book to me.

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Message: 

None.

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