Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Children's Books to Avoid

I think I have just read the official winner of the Worst Book in the World. I checked it out from the library because of the cute wind up soldier on the front. I will return it tomorrow because of everything that comes after that.

Summary of "I'm Number One": Soldier makes everyone else wind him up. Soldier makes fun of all the other toys' things so that they give them to him (a hat, a scarf, a backpack). Soldier mocks all the other toys. Other toys start repeating and changing the mean things Soldier said: "We're the no so bad, the no so worst, and the so no good," said Maddy, laughing. Then the soldier laughs, gives back the things he manipulated away from the other toys and announces that he is now "one of the gang."

I think Maddy the Goose, Sally the Doll and Sid the Pig need some counseling. I'm not a big believer in self esteem but honestly. The soldier needs a big ole spanking but of course that isn't in the book.

In contrast, is one of my favorite series: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. In this book, kids are selfish, slow, sassy, forgetful, etc. In the chapter I'm reading to Levi, Dick Thompson is shamefully selfish. His mother watches him hit another child with a bat and hoard peppermint sticks. His mother calls his father and has the following conversation:

Mrs. Thompson said, "Herbert, this cannot wait another minute," and she told him about the candy and the baseball bat.

Mr. Thompson said, "Why not give him a good hard spanking? Tell him that you are going to give him something that he can keep all to himself."

Mrs. Thompson began to cry, partly because she felt so humiliated over Dick's selfishness and partly because she knew that crying was one way to get action out of Dick's father.

Dick's father said, "Now, now, dear, tears won't help. Let me see--shall I hop into a taxi and come home and thrash Dick?"

He doesn't, but the fact that he offers is so completely refreshing. Hooray, hooray for books written in the 1950s.

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