meh

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.

The Storm Book

July 26, 2020
Subheader: 

Don’t use it for scientific accuracy and you’ll probably be fine.

Come on. Rainbows don't have a purpose. And they don't always happen after a storm. They might even happen before a storm. You could even make one with a garden hose. And you can definitely have a storm that doesn't end with a rainbow, which raises the question of how this mother would know the storm was over.

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Message: 

Storms are pretty to look at.

Eddie the World’s Greatest Creature

July 8, 2020
Subheader: 

Creature Feature

It's a decent book. It's got an interesting idea, but the execution of the story could use a little work. It feels like it should offer some more reasons that he would want to be himself instead of this weird other animal. And it's unclear whether he's saying that he himself is the best animal, or that humans are the best animal.

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Message: 

Be yourself. Or, humans are the best animal.

Lumberjack and Friends to the Rescue!

April 27, 2020
Subheader: 

The plot needs rescuing.

He gets in an airplane and flies to Scotland to fix his aunt's roof. I'm not sure why he can't just send her money and hire someone in Scotland to help her. It'd probably be cheaper. Plus, he's a lumberjack. He cuts down trees; he doesn't fix roofs. He's not a roofer, that's a completely different job.

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Message: 

Sometimes people need their roofs fixed. Or, fly across the world to do minor chores for your loved ones.

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