meh

The Good Luck Cat

February 7, 2018
Subheader: 

Kind of like a less cruel version of "The Cat Came Back."

I probably wouldn't read this to kids based on the amount of terrible things that happen to this poor animal, but I wouldn't be that upset if somebody read this to my children. Bad things happen in the world.

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Message: 

Cats have very dangerous lives.

The Flat Rabbit

February 5, 2018
Subheader: 

Oh, go fly a... rabbit?

I can only think of the "Cat Copter," the taxidermied pet cat that somebody made into a drone. But I don't think the person who did that thought that it would be fun for the cat. The cat's dead. The cat doesn't care anymore. Why? Why would you do this, other than out of a bizarre sense of amusement?

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Message: 

Be nice to dead animals. Or, dogs are stupid.

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are

January 28, 2018
Subheader: 

Is this a specific kind of cuisine I'm unfamiliar with?

The story is okay, it's just the writing that's poor. It's a picture book, intended for adults to read to children. A parent is going to be there. You don't need to have your characters do something, and then explain why they did the right thing. You're not adding anything new just by repeating what just happened with a cliche description. That's not the same thing as explaining things in a different way.

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Message: 

Being different is good. Or, be nice to everybody even if they're a jerk to you.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

January 21, 2018
Subheader: 

Not to be confused with "Tigers Gone Wild."

It's a weird book. It's got a message but I'm not sure it effectively communicates that message. I guess Mr. Tiger's benevolent rampage convinces everybody else that they should be a little less stuck-up?

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Message: 

It's important to go crazy every once in a while.

Gugu's House

January 7, 2018
Subheader: 

And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? Before it destroys my house, I mean.

Gugu's work is not really my kind of art, but it's not bad. I wouldn't say there's an awesome message to get out of it, but it's a pretty good book. As far as I can tell, it treats the Zimbabwe culture and the specific person that this is based on rather respectfully.

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Message: 

Nature is cyclical.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

January 3, 2018
Subheader: 

A decent introduction to street art.

The book doesn't really talk about mental illness much, and the story part of the book also doesn't mention that Basquiat died at age 27 from a drug overdose. The reality is that he died quite young and was addicted to drugs, so his story was a bit more tragic than this children's book accounts for.

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Message: 

Jean-Michel Basquiat had a very interesting life.

Chrysanthemum

December 24, 2017
Subheader: 

Deus ex flora.

Why couldn't the music teacher just say, "Guys, seriously, shut up. Flowers are awesome," or anything like that? What is a kid reading this book going to do if somebody makes fun of their name and nobody cool has a name like theirs? It's stupid. The book isn't bad. It doesn't send a bad message. It's just that it doesn't offer a real solution to the real problem that it shows.

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Message: 

Don't be embarrassed about your name because cool people have weird names too.

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

December 28, 2017
Subheader: 

The main "wonder" is what kind of drugs the author/illustrator was taking.

This is a very disturbing book on many levels. It's not "bad" disturbing; it's just "creepy" disturbing. It's not, like, "keep away from children at any cost" disturbing. I really don't have much else to say about this except how profoundly disturbing this book is.

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Message: 

Birds are cool, and they're in danger of going extinct?

Extra Yarn

December 26, 2017
Subheader: 

Maybe she should learn to crochet or something.

It's pretty. It's fairly innocuous. It's just a weird book. It doesn't go anywhere. There's no reason for her to be making these things. There's no impetus for it, and the only conflict resolves itself. I guess the message is, "Don't steal things." I don't think most people nowadays need to be taught that.

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Message: 

Don't steal things. Or, trucks need sweaters, too.

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