meh

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.

Messages In The Mailbox: How To Write A Letter

June 3, 2018
Subheader: 

Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of letters... LETTERS

I have never met anybody this obsessed with letters. Maybe the author is in the camp that the letter is a dying art and it needs to be revived, etc. etc. A feeling which has clearly been around since before the advent of email given the publication of this book. But it's just a weird book. It's a really weird book.

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Message: 

Writing letters is very complicated, apparently.

The Upside Down Riddle Book

June 1, 2018
Subheader: 

What is it about riddles that fascinates children?

I think the idea was to make you look at the world in a different way, or something like that, but it kind of falls flat on that since so many of the answers are completely recognizable even when they're upside down.

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Message: 

Riddles are interesting.

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