SLJ top 100

Miss Nelson is too feminine to be assertive.

What it boils down to is, don't have respect for people who treat you kindly. The only two opinions the children can have for the teacher are disrespect, or fear. Really, the best relationship between an adult and a child is for them to have mutual respect and understanding of the other's position. It's obviously a lot harder for children to understand the position of the adult.


To get people to listen to you, you have to be nasty and threatening.

Let's try to understand each other a little bit more.

I think it's a great book, because it shows something that kids, like my four-year-old, would totally do. When he had a new pair of shoes, he walked into preschool telling everybody about them, even though we got there late and the teacher was talking to the other kids. He can't hold his enthusiasm inside, and that's an extremely common thing for kids. They have to learn respect for other people and their time, especially when others are trying to learn in a group context.


Making a mistake is not permanent. You can fix things that you did wrong. Or, when you're at school, you need to let the teacher talk without distracting the other children.

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.

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?


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

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.


Here are a bunch of words and dogs.

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.


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.

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.


It's important to care about some things.

Deus ex flora.

Why couldn't the music teacher just say, "Guys, seriously, shut up. Flowers are awesome," or anything like that? What is a kid reading this book going to do if somebody makes fun of their name and nobody cool has a name like theirs? It's stupid. The book isn't bad. It doesn't send a bad message. It's just that it doesn't offer a real solution to the real problem that it shows.


Don't be embarrassed about your name because cool people have weird names too.

In the words of Ponyo, "HAM!"

If you take it from the perspective that a child will likely take it, I'm probably reading too much into it. A child will look at it and think, "Oh, there's a lot of food I don't like, and my parents sometimes resort to ridiculous lengths in order to get me to eat food that I claim to not like, and it sometimes turns out that I like it," so I think they'll identify with that. I guess the important part is that the main character does like it.


Try new foods. Or, if you keep annoying somebody enough, they'll give in to what you're asking for.

Back at it again with the white shoes!

It seems to have been a song before it was a book, and it certainly isn't great literature. It's not very interesting and the repetition would bore me if I had to read it more than once.


“No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song... because it's all good.”