good

Death is Stupid

October 5, 2018

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.

Message

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

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue

August 24, 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 22, 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.

It's Not the Stork!

August 14, 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.

The Spider and the Fly

August 6, 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.

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

July 5, 2018

Children are not tasty or nutritious.

This is described as the Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood. I have to say that it's better than Little Red Riding Hood in many ways. In this book they save themselves.

Message

Intelligence and persistence can triumph over evil.

Outside Over There

July 13, 2018

These goblins and their weddings, amirite?

I really liked the relationship--the tenderness and compassion--from the older sister to the younger sister. Dealing with babies is hard. The mother's clearly mentally checked-out already.

Message

Take responsibility for your actions.

You Don’t Want a Unicorn!

July 15, 2018

Boys can like unicorns, too.

In this book, the narrator is constantly warning the boy from the beginning, and the boy doesn't listen and the narrator is clearly more knowledgeable about unicorns than the boy. So it's literally a wish, and he gets exactly what he asked for. It just turns out to be different from what he expected.

Message

Be careful what you wish for.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

July 17, 2018

Poor kid should've drawn a map.

It's an adventure book, and it's a kind of a testament to the power of imagination, the power of curiosity and bravery. I think it's a great book. It's very simple. It has kind of a high number of pages, but they don't have that many words, and the words aren't long.

Message

Imagination is awesome.

Ma Dear's Aprons

June 13, 2018

Being a single mom is tough.

It's pretty. It's also very wordy, though the words are good. It kind of makes me think of Clare Turlay Newberry's books.

Message

No matter how hard your mother has to work, she still loves you.