Body autonomy for the win.

It has a really terrific message. I think it's very well executed. The artwork is decent. I mean, it's not going to win any awards, but it's self-consistent and clear what's going on in the pictures. The ambiguity in the child's gender is great, and he's also depicted as biracial. I love how it stresses that if someone touches you inappropriately, it's not your fault.


If somebody touches you inappropriately, it's not your fault. Tell someone you trust.

Death is stupid. This book is not.

I'd have absolutely no problem reading this to my child if they were dealing with death. I probably wouldn't spring it on them out of nowhere, but I think it would be very helpful to children who had a loved one pass away, and help the parents open up conversation with the child about it.


Death is stupid, and here are some ways of dealing with it.

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.


There's a bunch of different genders.

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).


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.

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.


The people of Boston are nice to animals.

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

Little elephant, big plot holes.

It's not explained how the elephants know about cars and clothing, and why they're so impressed by it. Are they supposed to be intelligent, or simple-minded and easily amused? I don't know what the purpose of this book is. There's so many holes in the universe and the story that is told that it doesn't make a lot of sense. The characters motivations are really unclear, and it ends up being really bizarre.


Elephants want to be more like people.

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.


Believe in yourself, and help others out.