Um…these are CHILDREN’S BOOKS?

I don’t want to be a jerk of a parent. I don’t. But, I fully intend to read all books before the girls do as they get older. Or, in the very least, read reviews, plot points, etc.

Don’t think I will tell them they can’t read something if I find it questionable (because, let’s face it, they’ll just read it behind my back anyway if they want to bad enough), BUT I want to know what they are reading. So I can be a guide, and possibly answer questions if they are confused about something.

Let’s just say that my stance has a LOT to do with the fact that I read many things at a young age that I didn’t necessarily understand. (I read Forever when I was in 5th or 6th grade, ya’ll). I don’t think I’m worse for it, but I also feel that if I had been given some kind of guidance when reading, someone could have told me that book (for example) wasn’t the same kind of book as all of the other Judy Blume books I loved.

So, imagine my surprise, when after taking Olivia to the library (where she decided she needed TEN books this time), we sat down to read Madeline in London. I’m happily reading aloud, when I reach this passage:

“And when they went to the place, they found A horse that was gentle, strong, and sound. Some poor old dobbins are made into glue…
but not this one–”

WTF? Um…really? This is a celebrated children’s series. I did not, for one minute, think I needed to read CHILDREN’S picture books before sharing them with my children.

However, after my second strike, I’m thinking I should.

So I skipped over the making him into glue part, stumbled a bit, but managed to get over it without drawing any questions. After we finished, Olivia wanted to read “Miss Spider’s Wedding”. For those of you not familiar, Miss Spider is a series that was made into a Nick Jr. show. It’s beautifully illustrated, and we’ve read many of the books without any issues. However, THIS one, was obviously written for the adults.

I paused when I started reading and got to this passage:
Then Holley held Miss Spider’s hand…I’ll say no more, you understand. For private moments between spiders should not be witnessed by outsiders.”
I paused, but did not stop (I should have).

I didn’t stop reading the book until I got to the part where Miss Spider’s friends were discussing her date with Holley, a smaller, bespectacled spider who is “kind and wise”.

That pantywaist will never do. What difference if he’s kind and wise, He isn’t half Miss Spider’s size.”

SERIOUSLY?

The book was written in 1995, so it isn’t like there is another old fashioned definition that we don’t know about. The whole book puts a whole lot of emphasis on how important it is for a woman to settle down with a man. When Miss Spider talks of having a date, her friend says “Well Finally”.

They talk about spiders who “drink so much petunia wine, he’s hardly fit to crawl.”

Then when Spiderus comes along to woo Miss Spider he gets pretty violent with her, and the pictures are actually kind of scary. Of course, there is a happy ending, but at what cost?

*shakes her fist*

At what cost?

So I suppose now I have to preread even the most classic of tales.

But, in case you need some help, we successfully read the following books:

Lost and Found By Oliver Jeffers:  A penguin shows up on a boy’s doorstep one day. The boy tries to help him find his way home, only to discover something really profound. Olivia loved this one. We’ve read it at least three times since she got it from the library on Friday, and she’s read it solo more than I can probably count.

No Biting, Louise By Margie Palatini: Louise is a pigtailed alligator who loves to bite. Everyone tells her to knock it off except for her beloved Grandmama who says she will outgrow it. Sophia absolutely loved this one and laughs so hard every time we read it. I think we will be buying it for her collection.

Miss Spider’s Tea Party By David Kirk: Neither Bill and I have been requested to read this one yet…but Olivia has read it and likes it. The illustrations are gorgeous, and I’m sure before the week is over I will be able to report more fully on the content.

Miss Spider’s New Car By David Kirk: Cute! Not at all scary like the wedding book. The illustrations are (again) gorgeous.

Little Miss Spider By David Kirk: Very sweet book with the same gorgeous illustrations. I do understand how many adoptive parents are hesitant to share this one with their adopted children, as there is a passage that states “For finding your mother, there’s one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best.” At face value, I found it sweet, but I get it. You don’t want your children to think that their birth parents do not love them. Maybe that helps? The only part I didn’t like (and perhaps it is because I’m reading it to such small children) is when the spider almost got eaten by a nest of hungry baby birds.

Kate, the Cat and the Moon By David Almond and Stephen Lambert: A little girl dreams she turns into a cat during the night, and turns back into a girl the next morning. Very nice illustrations, Olivia liked this one a lot. Very simple and easy to read. Both girls liked the “meowing” that I did.

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back & One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish By Dr. Seuss: We’re pretty much Seuss-a-holics in this house. Both girls LOVED these two and they have been read at least five times by Bill and I since Friday. Olivia has read them both at least as much on her own.

2 comments to Um…these are CHILDREN’S BOOKS?

  • Mary Horne

    Geesh! We aren’t really ready for full reading books, but I’ve been shocked by even nursery rhymes…

    There was an old lady that lived in a shoe….she whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

    Heck, even rock a bye baby is not the most peaceful of tunes.

    [Reply]

  • I have the same rule of thumb when it comes to books. Considering my mother caught me with The Thorn Birds when I was in the sixth grade, I agree it might be a good idea to vet out the books the kids read.

    While I want them to explore the literary world, I also want to make sure that they understand – oh don’t – what they’re reading. I’ll explain it them using my own experience.

    I thought The Thorn Birds was a good book, but until I read it from an adult perspective, I couldn’t appreciate all the subtext and conflict. I want them to appreciate books and sometimes, that takes a bit of age and maturity.

    [Reply]

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