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How Babies are Made

October 17, 2018

If it mentioned cesareans, it would be near perfect.

It's not a perfect book, but it's a great foundation. And the illustration style, where it can be very detailed in some parts of images, and quite abstract in others, works very well for the topic. It's a nice contrast to the weirdly cartoony images and metaphors of "Where Did I Come From?" There are no descriptions of how anything feels, just a factual recounting of events.

Message

The basic details of human reproduction.

10,000 Dresses

October 15, 2018

Good message, spotty execution.

It may be unfortunate that it needs to be more obvious, but I think that it's important that Laurel be explicitly recognized as somebody who is doing the right thing and not just kind of be assumed to be doing the right thing because she's at the end of the book.

Message

Sometimes a person who has the body of a boy feels like she is a girl instead. Or, everyone should be accepted for who they are inside.

Who are You?

October 1, 2018

As The Caterpillar said, "Explain yourself."

I feel like there's not enough here. What's here is good, but it's just so sparse. There's a lot of additional text for "grown-ups," but maybe that information should be part of the main text.

Message

There's a bunch of different genders.

Frog and Toad are Friends

September 27, 2018

Not as good as "Toot and Puddle."

The stories do show quite a bit of compassion from Frog to Toad. Toad is kind of the standard "Gloomy Gus" stereotype, sort of like Bert and Ernie, where Toad is Bert, and Frog is Ernie. Frog is more rambunctious and outgoing, trying to enjoy himself but still with an empathetic side (except when he lies to his friend about the month).

Message

Various. It's okay to lie to your friends to avoid being lonely. Do nice things for others. It's okay to make fun of people for wearing ugly clothes. Stories are boring. Remind people that you enjoy their company.

Blueberries for Sal

September 23, 2018

Garumpf! Indeed.

Sal's mother is not nearly as upset as you would expect when she finds a bear in place of her daughter. Isn't she worried that her daughter has encountered a bear, and is possibly mauled? Nope. She just complacently looks for her.

Message

Bear cubs and human children are similar. They both wander off and like to eat blueberries.

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink

September 21, 2018

Some princesses dress in pink, though.

For a book that's clearly intended to show that not all princesses are the same, or girly, it sure seems obsessed with sparkly crowns. I wish there was at least one princess that didn't explicitly wear a sparkly crown in this book.

Message

You don't have to wear pink to be a princess. Or, princesses can't wear pink.

Make Way for Ducklings

September 25, 2018

If these duck parents would only make up their minds...

This is a bizarre book. Maybe it's more interesting if you live in Boston and actually know where these places are, but I've never actually been to Boston. And you can't expect ducks to be very intelligent, but this pair of ducks seems to be on the low end of the duck intelligence spectrum.

Message

The people of Boston are nice to animals.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

September 13, 2018

Good message, potentially scary story.

I just think it's potentially upsetting that the child turns into a rock and stays that way for a long time. His parents are distraught (although I suppose it would be worse if they weren't). Clearly in this universe, magic is extremely powerful and permanent. If it was something a little less drastic, and he didn't stay that way for almost a year, this would be a good book. I really love the scientific moment, and the message of appreciating what you have. Maybe when my kids are old enough to completely understand that magic isn't real, like at age seven or eight, I might read this to them.

Message

Our loved ones and family are the most important things in our lives. Or, be careful what you wish for.

The Little Engine That Could

September 15, 2018

Good message, boring story.

It's just really a product of its time. I'm pretty sure it's not interesting enough for most of today's kids. There's gratitude in it, which is nice. There's helping others, which is nice. There's believing in yourself, which is nice. But it's really not that much more interesting than "The Little Red Caboose" except that it's got female trains in it.

Message

Believe in yourself, and help others out.

The Story of Ferdinand

September 19, 2018

How disturbing this book is depends on the reader's knowledge of bullfights.

What what the heck? How did this book and the story that it tells become so popular? I vaguely remember the 1938 Disney animated short. It was only published two years prior to that, in 1936, and it shows. The writing is very simplistic, and it feels so rhythmically slow compared to modern books, with the exception of the ones written for very little children.

Message

Some people like to smell flowers, and that's okay. You don't have to be violent.