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The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant

September 11, 2018

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.

Message

Elephants want to be more like people.

Go, Dog, Go!

September 5, 2018

Why, Dog, Why?

It's boring and it doesn't go anywhere. I would like to say, as I have in other reviews of similar books, that children will learn language without it being explicitly taught to them, as long as they are around other people who speak it. They do not need to be explicitly taught a list of prepositions like they're vocabulary words. Children don't need this book.

Message

Here are a bunch of words and dogs.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

September 5, 2018

Pointless with a chance of confusion.

I know, I know, I'm reading far too much into this. But all of this crossed my mind literally within 10 minutes of reading the book. It makes no sense, and it's unclear if it's supposed to. What is the point of this book? Where is it going with this meandering story? What is it trying to say? I have no idea. It basically just says, "Once upon a time, there was this place where food fell from the sky, and then all the people left." Why did you even bother telling the story?

Message

It's a good thing food doesn't fall from the sky.

Hop on Pop

September 5, 2018

Snore on bore.

This is basically one of those word list books. Apparently Dr. Seuss wrote them, too. It's kind of on the same lines as "I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words" except Seuss's word list rhymes, which is about the only way you can get through one of these without falling asleep.

Message

These are words you should learn.

Tikki Tikki Tembo

September 5, 2018

Tikki Tikki? No. No.

If the mother were punished for her callous treatment of her children, especially the youngest, then maybe her behavior would act as an anti-example. But as it is, with no repentance or personal consequences (only her eldest son suffers for it), I don't want this read to my kids. I don't want her behavior modeled for them. I don't want them to worry I'll ignore them if they fall down a well, or treat them differently based on their age alone. And I don't want them to feel that either of them is worthless. Not even in a relative sense.

Message

Chinese people are exactly like Japanese people, except with stupid (nonexistent) traditions. Also, among siblings, only the oldest son is important and everybody else is basically disposable.

Corduroy

September 3, 2018

This must be a book! I think I've always wanted to review a book.

There's not much to it. There's no conflict. There's no character development. It's pretty basic. It's just like a fantasy of what a toy bear might do if he realized that he'd lost a button.

Message

It feels good to be loved.

Call for Cybils Judges

September 1, 2018

The Cybils organizers are looking for this year's group of judges. They say, "Are you a reader who loves children's and young adult books? This call is for you. We need some wonderful book bloggers who are interested in reading a lot of children's or young adult books, reviewing them, and choosing the best of the best for the 2018 Cybils Awards."

Super Duper Safety School: Safety Rules For Kids & Grown-Ups!

August 29, 2018

Super duper disappointment.

I totally understand what she's trying to say, and it's an incredibly important message, but the writing and the illustrations are so bad that I just can't get past them. It's really disappointing, because I think a book would be very helpful in explaining this to my kids. But this is not that book, at least not for me. Maybe I need to write my own.

Message

Watch out for tricky people because they are thumbs-down.

Tell Me About Sex, Grandma

August 29, 2018

A case of style over substance.

This book barely skims the surface of the topic, but it skims it well. But it's not enough to answer the larger, underlying question of what sex actually is. It's incomplete, and it reads more like a meditation on the process of talking to children about sex than an actual instructive book. I would love to see a thorough, detailed book about sex written in this style. It drew me in through its conversational tone, but left me wanting something more substantial. The artwork is great, as well.

Message

Sex is wonderful, but it's personal, and it's something that everybody involved has to agree to.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

August 21, 2018

Because pythons are paranoid and iguanas are grumpy.

Maybe the book is trying to say, "Don't tell lies," but the message that comes out is that people will blame you for things that are clearly not your fault. While this is a true message, it's not necessarily an ideal one.

Message

People will blame you for things that are clearly not your fault.