Two bad books I haven't had a chance to devote a full review to - "The Giving Tree" and "The Rainbow Fish", rewritten to be good!

I can’t figure out the point.

Animals do hibernate, but they don't hang out in large groups around whatever flower they can find. And I don't think anybody would argue that it's trying to be realistic in that sense. It's not trying to teach us anything scientific. It's just trying to make a silly story about animals and a flower and it's... boring. It's really boring.


Spring comes after winter.

Doesn’t make much of a splash.

The length of time over which the book's events occur is very nebulous. How much of it is literal? Metaphorical?


Water flows from rain and down the mountains, and eventually ends up in the ocean.

Don’t use it for scientific accuracy and you’ll probably be fine.

Come on. Rainbows don't have a purpose. And they don't always happen after a storm. They might even happen before a storm. You could even make one with a garden hose. And you can definitely have a storm that doesn't end with a rainbow, which raises the question of how this mother would know the storm was over.


Storms are pretty to look at.

Creature Feature

It's a decent book. It's got an interesting idea, but the execution of the story could use a little work. It feels like it should offer some more reasons that he would want to be himself instead of this weird other animal. And it's unclear whether he's saying that he himself is the best animal, or that humans are the best animal.


Be yourself. Or, humans are the best animal.

The plot needs rescuing.

He gets in an airplane and flies to Scotland to fix his aunt's roof. I'm not sure why he can't just send her money and hire someone in Scotland to help her. It'd probably be cheaper. Plus, he's a lumberjack. He cuts down trees; he doesn't fix roofs. He's not a roofer, that's a completely different job.


Sometimes people need their roofs fixed. Or, fly across the world to do minor chores for your loved ones.


This was written by an eight-year-old. It's obvious that it was written by an eight-year-old. I believe that the writing is fairly typical for eight-year-olds, though my kids aren't that old yet so I don't have a lot to compare it to. It's definitely clear that it's written by a kid, and she doesn't have a very good concept of story structure yet. It starts off saying, "A girl named Krista have [sic] always wished to become a superhero. Could I become a superhero? She thought."


It's important to preserve the art of an eight-year-old.

The metaphor breaks down when you examine it.

The shepherd is explicitly a boy, though it's not clear exactly how old he is. The sheep is an actual sheep, and not even a particularly useful one at that (black wool was less desirable). And I've read "Where the Red Fern Grows"-- I know that in a battle of dog vs. mountain lion, mountain lion usually wins.


Sheep are worth risking your life over.

The most wonderful doll was inside you all along.

It's a fairly preachy book, but it doesn't really explain what it is she's doing wrong or whether she's aware of it. And then it doesn't really deal with the consequences. It's kind of like "Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine" except that where SBM has kind of an over-the-top consequence, this book really doesn't have any consequence.


Your imagination is always better than reality. Or, reality/growing up sucks.

Don’t angels make people freak out?

It teaches a bit about the culture and holidays of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles, but I imagine it's rather outdated. I wonder what Olvera Street is like nowadays, almost 75 years later.


This is how Mexican Americans live in Los Angeles.