Pondering Pages

One of Elise’s favorite pastimes is reading books. Her current favorites are anything from the series “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” It’s fun reading them to her because if you pause before the last word on each page, she will say it for you. Very enthusiastically, I might add.

But sometimes we sit down to read a book – whether one of ours or one from the library – and I just have to wonder if the editors really even read the books.

Most Disappointing:  Pooh’s Bees

Pooh's bees

What child wouldn’t find this silly-old-bear charming? Seemed like a great book when we checked it out from the library. Pooh tries to climb a tree to get some honey, but the bees buzz him and he falls down. The only obvious solution is to have Christopher Robin blow up a blue balloon so that Pooh can float camouflaged up to the hive to get some honey.

Christopher Robin breathes helium, in case you weren’t aware.

No wonder he hallucinates about talking stuffed animals.

But the real problem with this book is that it abruptly ends with Pooh floating.

Did he get stung? Did the bees pop his balloon? Did he sing one of his weird songs to soothe them? Did he get the honey?

Children won’t know the rest of the story until they can read the full-length book. I imagine that has been the motivation of many advanced readers of our day. Teachers and parents: you could really do this with any book… read to them until the climax of the story and then close it abruptly and say, “The End. You’ll have to learn to read the rest for yourself.” How can I get on the school board? I think they need me.

Most Depressing:  The Jolly Barnyard

How altruistic of Farmer Brown be thinking of his animals instead of himself on his birthday! Except… as a farmer, feeding his animals is his job.

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But regardless, his animals must feel the same affection towards him because they decide to do something special for him in return.

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Except it’s not really that special because those are their jobs.

But the depressing part is here:

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Not only is he living just to die, but he’s not even living in blissful ignorance.

Most Confusing:  Chicka Chicka 1-2-3

The original Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book is a cute alphabet book. In this one, we are counting.

At first, we start counting by ones. But suddenly we find ourselves counting by tens without warning. And then 99 comes along. Oh and then 0. Why? How did this happen? And why is 0 coming after everything else?  I know I can be scatter-brained, but this is bad…

Chicka chicka 123

And *spoiler alert* guess what?

There’s not going to be enough room. So let’s just focus on the task at hand for toddlers reading this book: Counting.

By ones please.

Most Disturbing:  Goodnight Moon

A very dear friend gave us this book while I was pregnant, and I’ll be honest… I had never read it before then! Which is my defense for my interpretation of the book.

Several things have struck me upon reading this book 63 times with Elise…

1. What is up with the colors? They’re hauntingly gaudy. And then you turn the page and suddenly everything flashes into black and white. If that’s not the set-up for an old-time horror story, I don’t know what is. Yes… “Goood nighhhhtttt… whaaahaaahaaaahahaa!!!”

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2. Is it just me, or do those cats look spooked? I sure wouldn’t want a spooked cat in my bedroom as I’m trying to go to sleep.

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3. Why couldn’t they call the old lady a “Grandmother”? It would make the story 10x less creepy. Honestly, leaving it so vague is what ruins the whole story for me.

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Who is she? Does he know her? Why is she there sometimes and gone other times? What kind of grandmother wouldn’t tuck her grandchild in?

There’s no way she’s his grandma. Is she going to stay there all night and watch him sleep? Why does she keep whispering “hush”?? And for goodness sake, where is this bunny’s parents??!! Do they know about this?! If she’s the babysitter, why didn’t they leave a list to at least include goodnight hugs? Poor Baby-bunny… he looks scared!

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Here’s what’s happening when I read this story: 

Baby bunny was naughty at dinner and was sent upstairs to eat by himself. Only he is being defiant and is leaving the oatmeal for his mom to clean up in the morning. And everyone knows you can only clean old oatmeal out of a dish with a jackhammer. And in the meantime, it is attracting a mouse that is running all over the room. *shudder*

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His final act of defiance is to prolong bedtime by saying “goodnight” to every.single.thing. in his room.

So the boogie-bunny sneaks into his room disguised as an old lady giving him one last warning to “hush.”

The cats look spooked because, well… they are spooked. Cats can sense boogie-bunnies, and they’re worried Baby-bunny is going to push the limits with this “Good-night” bologna.

And then… he finally turns the lights out. And there are noises. Noises everywhere.

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And the boogie-bunny is suddenly gone…

Or is she?

——————

Oddly enough, I actually do like reading Goodnight Moon. If you just call the old lady a “grandma” it’s so much more soothing. And The Jolly Barnyard isn’t bad either, if you don’t think about the poor Turkey’s sacrifice. I would suggest a re-write for the other two books though.

Read at your own risk, friends!

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