Wednesday, October 6, 2010

book review

I have a problem with children's books. I have a difficult time when someone mentions Goodnight Moon and a chorus of "I love that book!" arises. What about that book is so lovable? How is saying goodnight to inanimate objects at all captivating, adventurous, or even endearing? It requires no imagination, whatsoever. My child and I can easily say goodnight to everything in our room without paying $12.99.

The 11-month-old I nanny has two favorite books. Now, to be fair, I don't remember what books (if any) interested me as an 11-month-old. I do remember, as a little girl, loving certain books. I would crawl up on my grandmother's lap and have her read The Little Red Hen to me, which taught me to have helping hands. (I can still hear my grandmother's voice reading that book, so many years later.) I also loved The Grouchy Lady Bug, which was colorful, and taught me how to tell time. If You Give a Moose a Muffin had me in stitches, I would giggle so hard. It also made me imagine sometimes that I had a moose. My favorite of all time was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. But that wasn't until high school.

But William's two favorite books are Trucks! and Cat. The titles say it all, I think. And perhaps you'd think, in the fashion of Goodnight Moon, they'd be painfully simple and redundant. Well, they are redundant. But instead of opening Trucks! and telling William to point out the semi truck, or the pickup truck, I have to turn the page and say in a cutesie voice, "Can you find the giant excavator, Will? Ooh, where's the skid steer? Yep, that's the backhoe loader! Good boy!" Puh-leeze. What happened to Make Way for Ducklings?

Then comes his book about cats. I like cats. This book has pictures of real cats, and it rhymes, too. I like rhymes. And on each page it shows cats doing things, with descriptions like, "Cool cat, copy cat, furry cat, bald cat," and more. But then, I turned the page and I saw this:

I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry, or shut the book and bury it in the backyard. That is one of the most terrifying images I've ever seen. I would've had nightmares had I seen this. In fact, I think I do have nightmares because of this. I'm having one right now, and it gets worse every time I scroll up.

All right, perhaps I'm being a tad unjust. I mean, the book about trucks has little windows that William likes to open, and some of the cats's tails are fluffy. I understand that babies probably could not sit through a reading of Where the Wild Things Are if there was not something to tangibly discover. Their little minds aren't apt to discover things within them, yet. But also to be fair, anyone could write a children's book. I'm going to write one about a little boy who died from eating sand. It'll be textured and everything. And maybe then William will stop eating sand.


Anonymous said...

That cat's forehead looks like its wrinkly brain is on the outside instead of the inside.

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