meh

The Life and Times of Fuzzy Wuzzy

December 14, 2020
Subheader: 

Live your fuzziest life.

It's somewhat charming in its own way, but it takes the one thing I think kids like about the rhyme and strips it out. The writing is pretty good, the meter of the poetry is usually good though it trips up a few times. It's got a good message, although I'm not sure how strongly it conveys it.

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Message: 

Don't let others define you by what you're lacking.

Paddle-to-the-Sea

November 1, 2020
Subheader: 

Snoozefest with decent art.

It's just really, really long, and nowadays kids don't have the patience for something quite this boring. It just makes me think of how I don't enjoy reading realistic fiction for fun because it doesn't have enough action for me. Maybe it's just me, but it's so very far from modern children's books that it seems like a stodgy distant ancestor.

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Message: 

Water from the snow eventually reaches the sea. Also, people are generally helpful.

Journey Cake, Ho!

September 27, 2020
Subheader: 

Journey Cake, Huh?

It seems like fairy tales have a strange fascination with runaway pastries. I understand why Johnny's chasing it: he's poor and hungry, and it's his to begin with. But why are all the animals so fascinated by it? They can barely tell what it is.

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Message: 

Sometimes poor children have to go make their own lives? Or, Everybody loves pastry.

Bear Came Along

October 18, 2020
Subheader: 

Bear came along. And then he went.

I know, people tell me in the comments all the time that I read too much into children's books. But I'm not sure where this one is coming from. The author's note afterwards seems to imply that it's about taking a chance and seeing what happens, and being bold, but that that's not really what's happening in the book.

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Message: 

Take a chance and see what happens?

Alma and How She Got Her Name

October 11, 2020
Subheader: 

It must be hard to initial things.

This clearly is not my culture and as a young child growing up in the culture, either she would already know the answer to this (in which case she wouldn't be asking this question) or she merits a more thorough explanation. Maybe she's supposed to be a really young kid and it's supposed to not matter.

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Message: 

Names can be something that ties you to your family history.

Picture THIS! Imagine THAT!

September 8, 2020
Subheader: 

I’m imagining it with better art.

It's not a terribly compelling story, but I can see the good message behind it, about the power of imagination, and trying to see things from others' point of view. And I like the concept, which is that the author took a story that was told by his highly imaginative preschool-aged son, and polished it up to make it into a full book.

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Message: 

Imagination is fun.

The Happy Day

July 19, 2020
Subheader: 

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.

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Message: 

Spring comes after winter.

Rain Drop Splash

July 12, 2020
Subheader: 

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?

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Message: 

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

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