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Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue

August 21, 2018

As the title of another book says, children are delicious.

It's just goofy in a way that makes me think of "A Very Special House" (also illustrated by Maurice Sendak). It parodies other moralizing stories where the child is a brat from the beginning and gets his comeuppance, realizing that maybe he should be nicer to people.

Message

It's important to care about some things.

Strega Nona

August 21, 2018

More like, "Underneath spaghetti."

So he disobeys her, but she doesn't punish him cruelly for it. His "crime" doesn't deserve death. The only person he really wronged in this case is Strega Nona, because it was her pot.

Message

Don't be vindictive. Or, don't take things without permission.

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.

The Incredible Ordinary Hero: or, The Brave Bystander

August 8, 2018

I'm not sure the author knows what "bystander" means.

It's not much of a story. There's no real conflict or anything. I think it's important to teach your children how to deal with burns, but maybe it's also important to teach them fire safety in addition. But the most useful part of this book is those two pages which are about what to do (and what not to do) when someone gets burned.

Message

Anybody can help others, and this is how to deal with minor burns.

Where Did I Come From?

August 8, 2018

California. You came from California.

It's not a bad book. I don't think there's any misinformation in here, but it definitely could be improved upon. I'm searching for a book to give to my children when they get old enough (the time is fast approaching) and think I'm going to keep looking.

Message

Babies are born when mommies and daddies make love and sperm find eggs.

It's Not the Stork!

August 8, 2018

It's not the stork. Maybe it's a penguin?

The only drawback I found in this book is its lack of mention of transgender or intersex people. This is otherwise a very thorough book. It's got cute little illustrations, but they're usually fairly realistic. At the beginning, it just says that girls and boys can do the same things, but girls and women have a vagina, and boys and men have a penis, and there's other things that are different.

Message

Where babies come from. Also, don't let anybody touch you in a way you don't want them to.

Hank and Stella in: Something from Nothing

August 8, 2018

Could be a bigger something from nothing.

It's a solid book, but I wasn't grabbed by the story. It's definitely well written. It's written in rhyme, and the meter and rhymes are very solid, but the story is somewhat contrived. The artwork is not stylistically amazing, but it's good enough not to be distracting, and the art style fits well with the story that's going on.

Message

Here's how to do improvisation while you play.

What's the Big Secret?

August 8, 2018

Could it be... cookies?

Parts of it feel sparse compared to other books. The information it does have is accurate, but I'm probably not going to use it to teach my kids. I would understand if other parents used it, though.

Message

Boys and girls are different physically. They mature into men and women who can have babies together.

The Spider and the Fly

July 31, 2018

Will you walk a little faster?" Said a whiting to a snail. "There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.

Like the spider says, it's not a twist ending. Nowadays, we don't expect the endings of kids' stories to be quite as dark. Evil wins. One of the main characters is devoured by the other. In retrospect, horror is an obvious motif.

Message

Beware of people who try to flatter you to trick you into doing things.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

July 31, 2018

Don't know much about biology. But I know more than Eric Carle, apparently.

And someone else pointed out to me that the butterfly wings are on upside down. He's not an airplane, he's a moth-- butterfly-- whatever. Butterfly and moth wings are wider on the top and narrower on the bottom. So either his wings are upside-down, or his whole body is upside-down in the picture and what everyone thinks is his head is actually his butt.

Message

Caterpillars turn into butterflies?