Jump to content

Menu

Classic children's lit and modern parenting


Bluegoat
 Share

Recommended Posts

INterestingly, after the discussion here of Curious George, the same question came up on the parents Facebook group I'm subscribed to.  I'm not sure they appreciated my suggestion that the TMWTYH represented parental authority, and that is why children love George.  Colonialism is apparently a much more comfortable way to interpret the story. ;)

 

But - what I found interesting was that group members - almost exclusivly young parents - mentioned other books they considered "bad" and they included things that I would have said were totally innocuous.  "Blueberries for Sal" and "Are You My Mother" are, it seems, examples of bad parenting that will need to be explained to kids.

 

I am just thinking if that is the bar, most of the good children's lit is going to have to be ditched.  Max's mum is clearly abusive now that time-outs are considered a form of shaming. 

 

What other books might not meet modern parenting approval?

Edited by Bluegoat
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read about it just recently but can't find the link anywhere.

 

Young Tom comes home beaten one day and his father tells him how to talk through his problem with his friend, when Tom comes home a 2nd time beaten, he explains that a problem has two handles (potential solutions) so he buys Tom a punching bag and boxing gloves and begins teaching him to how to fight, all the while encouraging him to work things out with the bully.

 

When the bully proves he won't listen to reason, Tom beats the crap out of him. The boys make peace and go back to being friends.

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think when classic books show a disconnection with contemporary culture, kids tend to adapt to that in a story-context way. An occasional 'yes, this story is about a family that uses old fashioned ideas sometimes' should be all it takes.

 

How many of us read the opening to The Lion, w & w as kids and... 'They had been sent away because of the air raids' and traveled alone by train to a staffed country estate where they had only passing contact with their guardian.

 

That isn't how I was being parented at the time, and the only thing I knew about 'air raids' was that they were a reason to send children away (I thought maybe it was air pollution). I still barely blinked and carried on with the story.

 

Kids are good at that.

Edited by bolt.
  • Like 23
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must not be young or modern enough, since I didn't even know there was a debate.  How does colonialism fit into Curious George?   :confused1:   I'm about to go search for the WTM thread you referenced.  

 

We love Blueberries for Sal, here!  It's cute!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids love those books. *shrug*

 

Online parenting discussions just need to be taken with a big dose of caution and unfortunately those most vehement in their positions tend to be those least able to stand on their own and actually comfortably live out those convictions. Real life isn't that black and white and idealistic.

Edited by Arctic Mama
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids love those books. *shrug*

 

Online parenting discussions just need to be taken with a big dose of caution and unfortunately those most vehement in their positions tend to be those least able to stand on their on and actually comfortably live out those convictions. Real life isn't that black and white and idealistic.

 

same here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only people who can engage in judgement of those who censor their children's reading materials for whatever reason, without revealing themselves as hypocrites, are people who don't.

 

Just saying.

It's not the censoring that's the problem, it is someone getting sanctimonious about their parenting and critical of others who don't see the same need to limit that material as though they're bad parents. If they just said 'this is the way we do it because we believe these things have messages we don't support' it probably wouldn't be a big deal.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved that story.  I'm guessing the problem some people have with it is that the mom doesn't pay close enough attention to her preschooler while picking berries, and the little girl wanders off out of sight where she meets a bear.  Of course, the mother bear makes the same mistake, and her little one meets a human.  Maybe the book police should charge both mothers with parental neglect leading to child endangerment. 

 

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most ppl inclined to talk about books with their children, if they said anything about parenting at all, would say something like "we don't let toddlers wander around by themselves. There are bears dontchaknow."

 

Or are there great masses of ppl (not just one off examples) that don't understand what the word fiction means and are subsequently black listing harmless picture books?

 

Aside from the people that won't read harry potter and such because of witchcraft...?

 

Childrens literature is almost brand new, anyway.

 

Unless its something truly atrocious...a completely subjective measure that everyone must figure out for themselves....like BABAR!!!!!!!!!!!! ::shakes fist at babar::... then I think like Bolt said, most things can be shrugged off or explained very quickly and painlessly.

 

Eta I was writing at the same time everything above was being post lol. I am redundant redundant.

Edited by OKBud
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read about it just recently but can't find the link anywhere.

 

Young Tom comes home beaten one day and his father tells him how to talk through his problem with his friend, when Tom comes home a 2nd time beaten, he explains that a problem has two handles (potential solutions) so he buys Tom a punching bag and boxing gloves and begins teaching him to how to fight, all the while encouraging him to work things out with the bully.

 

When the bully proves he won't listen to reason, Tom beats the crap out of him. The boys make peace and go back to being friends.

 

Here it is, Tom and the Two Handles. It was written by Russell Hoban (author of Bread and Jam for Frances) in 1965. Yeah, I don't think we'd be reading that in our house.  ;)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Online parenting discussions just need to be taken with a big dose of caution and unfortunately those most vehement in their positions tend to be those least able to stand on their own and actually comfortably live out those convictions. Real life isn't that black and white and idealistic.

 

It's not the censoring that's the problem, it is someone getting sanctimonious about their parenting and critical of others who don't see the same need to limit that material as though they're bad parents. If they just said 'this is the way we do it because we believe these things have messages we don't support' it probably wouldn't be a big deal.

 

Maybe I shouldn't be taking these comments personally, but I was one who came out strongly against Curious George in the previous thread, so I thought I'd reply. I don't apologize for being vehement about the normalization of animal cruelty. I do try to be consistent in living out my convictions in day to day life. I am far from perfect, but I'm trying.  ;) I'm not sure what you mean by not being "able to stand on [one's] own." 

 

I apologize if my comments in that thread seemed sanctimonious. I truly don't believe reading Curious George to one's children makes one a bad parent! My comments were about the book, not about any particular parents. I'm aware that everyone has different world views and issues that are important to them. This board (and life!) have, I hope, helped me become less judgmental of other parents' choices.

 

I know when someone is very critical of something you enjoy, it's natural to take it personally. However, I do appreciate that this is a place where we can share our views freely. I'll try to be more aware of my tone in the future.  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of nursery rhymes ie. the old woman in the shoe whipping her children. I have to say that I changed it to having her hug and kiss them.

 

I was looking up the review on Common Sense Media for the new Peanuts movie and it said that it was tamer than the Peanuts shows of way back when. I wasn't surprised and I do think it's a good thing. I do love Blueberries for Sal and Curious George though.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read about it just recently but can't find the link anywhere.

 

Young Tom comes home beaten one day and his father tells him how to talk through his problem with his friend, when Tom comes home a 2nd time beaten, he explains that a problem has two handles (potential solutions) so he buys Tom a punching bag and boxing gloves and begins teaching him to how to fight, all the while encouraging him to work things out with the bully.

 

When the bully proves he won't listen to reason, Tom beats the crap out of him. The boys make peace and go back to being friends.

 

I would totally have read that to my girls.  Yes, prioritize working for a peaceful solution, but sometimes that doesn't work, and in that case it's completely okay to hit back.

Edited by shinyhappypeople
  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have a problem with reading any of these things to my kids. Now I feel like a bad parent.  :p

 

Then again, I grew up watching

 on the Muppets and watching early episodes of Sesame Street, which I guess is a problem now. It's funny because when the new Muppets came out I was annoyed with some of the innuendo and then I started to remember what I survived.

 

I'm not even sure I can answer the original question re: what books might not meet modern parenting standards as the books already mentioned wouldn't have been on my radar. Maybe Where the Red Fern Grows? He's out at all hours, killing animals, walking long distances without supervision? I don't see it that way, but I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the parents who worry about Blueberries for Sal.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read about it just recently but can't find the link anywhere.

 

Young Tom comes home beaten one day and his father tells him how to talk through his problem with his friend, when Tom comes home a 2nd time beaten, he explains that a problem has two handles (potential solutions) so he buys Tom a punching bag and boxing gloves and begins teaching him to how to fight, all the while encouraging him to work things out with the bully.

 

When the bully proves he won't listen to reason, Tom beats the crap out of him. The boys make peace and go back to being friends.

 

 

Here it is, Tom and the Two Handles. It was written by Russell Hoban (author of Bread and Jam for Frances) in 1965. Yeah, I don't think we'd be reading that in our house.  ;)

 

After reading Gil's description, I was thinking, "Where can I get a copy?"   :lol:

  • Like 20
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read about it just recently but can't find the link anywhere.

 

Young Tom comes home beaten one day and his father tells him how to talk through his problem with his friend, when Tom comes home a 2nd time beaten, he explains that a problem has two handles (potential solutions) so he buys Tom a punching bag and boxing gloves and begins teaching him to how to fight, all the while encouraging him to work things out with the bully.

 

When the bully proves he won't listen to reason, Tom beats the crap out of him. The boys make peace and go back to being friends.

 

This reminds me of one of the sub-plots in "The Bells of St. Mary's", where Sister Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman) teaches a boy to box so that he can defend himself against a bully. I guess that Classic Christmas movie might be on the blocks, too. ;)

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here it is, Tom and the Two Handles. It was written by Russell Hoban (author of Bread and Jam for Frances) in 1965. Yeah, I don't think we'd be reading that in our house.  ;)

 

You know, based on the descriptions in the review, I think it sounds really interesting.  I can see kids drawing a lot of different ideas from it.

 

I think that's one of the things that I notice about some kinds of reading restrictions - the ones that bother me, I suppose.  They seem to think that kids have to suck in what happens in the plot as a good example, and that kids books only really have one idea.  And as well, that parents can control a child's thinking by only giving books with approved ideas.

 

The books that people write that align with that perspective are, IMO, mostly very boring.

 

I think kids can actually be pretty reflective about what happens in books, and that they come to their own conclusions about it.  And I think that while there is a balance, it's important to recognize that those conclusions are theirs to come to - that is what it means to be a person.

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These discussions make me very, very sad for the current generation of kids. :(

 

:confused: I have hundreds upon hundreds of books in my home. We go to the library constantly. Community and co-op book sales are the highlights of our year.

 

Trust me, you don't need to pity my daughter because her mother thinks the Man in the Big Yellow Hat is evil.  :laugh:  (Besides which, I'm sure we read and talked about the book at some point.)

Edited by MercyA
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have a problem with reading any of these things to my kids. Now I feel like a bad parent.  :p

 

Then again, I grew up watching Debbie Harry sing "Call Me" on the Muppets and watching early episodes of Sesame Street, which I guess is a problem now. It's funny because when the new Muppets came out I was annoyed with some of the innuendo and then I started to remember what I survived.

 

I'm not even sure I can answer the original question re: what books might not meet modern parenting standards as the books already mentioned wouldn't have been on my radar. Maybe Where the Red Fern Grows? He's out at all hours, killing animals, walking long distances without supervision? I don't see it that way, but I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the parents who worry about Blueberries for Sal.

 

I thought it was hilarious when I got a DVD of Sesame St episodes for my kids and it said it wasn't appropriate for children!  THat being said, I don't like the new Muppets, but the issue isn't so much that it is adult as it is obvious and lame.

 

Where the Red Fern Grows makes me think of My Side of the Mountain.

 

Or what about Where the Wild THings Are?  Boy gets put in time-out and has a psychotic episode as a result?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

lol, because families who censor for reasons other than 'PC' never get sanctimonious about it! Uh-huh. Lived long enough to know that one's not true. 

 

For every nut-job mom who thinks Blueberries for Sal is an example of bad parenting, there's a family that thinks Harry Potter is a portal to demon-worship ( and they're not that shy about telling you, either ).

 

Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to make fun of both ends of the spectrum. It's just human nature that when we do it, we're calmly making mature decisions about our children's reading material. When other people do it, it's ridiculous!

 

[i agree with you.  I'm just spring-boarding off your point.  I think you're absolutely right.]

 

My general issue, in general terms, on several topics (food, debt, vaccines, pick anything, literally), is not so much which hill any given person chooses to stand on.  It's the attitude that everyone else must a) see that hill, b) personally embrace that hill, and c) stand on it unto death.  And if others refuse to stand on the hill (or stand on another hill), they are doing irreparable damage to someone or something.  

 

I don't know if anyone here feels that strongly, but it's the framing for a lot of arguments floating around "out there" these days.  It's hard not to interpret individual comments in that light.  I'll try, though.

Edited by CES2005
  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read all the things.  Have discussions about questionable parts.  Put it into context of the time when it was written in if needed.  Read the original fairy tales and nursery rhymes and talk about what lessons they are supposed to teach us.  Have faith that your children will be smart enough to figure out what's right and wrong, good and bad, questionable and unquestionable.  Not to mention, a book is a safe way to explore what might happen if questionable choices are made.  If you don't know what's bad, you can't know what's truly good.

  • Like 19
Link to comment
Share on other sites

INterestingly, after the discussion here of Curious George, the same question came up on the parents Facebook group I'm subscribed to.  I'm not sure they appreciated my suggestion that the TMWTYH represented parental authority, and that is why children love George.  Colonialism is apparently a much more comfortable way to interpret the story. ;)

 

But - what I found interesting was that group members - almost exclusivly young parents - mentioned other books they considered "bad" and they included things that I would have said were totally innocuous.  "Blueberries for Sal" and "Are You My Mother" are, it seems, examples of bad parenting that will need to be explained to kids.

 

I am just thinking if that is the bar, most of the good children's lit is going to have to be ditched.  Max's mum is clearly abusive now that time-outs are considered a form of shaming. 

 

What other books might not meet modern parenting approval?

 

Why is "Blueberries for Sal" bad parenting that has to be explained? They pick berries and make jam together... added bonus, moral of the story, "Don't fall behind!" I don't think the child has to be eaten by the bear to get the point of that story. I love that story because for us berry picking is a special time of year so we do not find it boring at all. It is an exciting book about a hypothetical scenario that enters our real-world sense of exploration. Maybe you have to be from a berry-picking area to fully enjoy it. The munching on the berries, the kaplunk in the bucket... the three besides... the getting tired, all very real for us.

 

Or "Are you my mother?" Parenting? Of a bird? True, they are anthropomorphized to an extent but they are living in a nest... birds do what they do. How utterly bizarre.

 

I am a parent to young children, the youngest still in first grade. I assure you plenty of quite liberal, humanist people are still reading the classics.

 

As for Curious George... It just took one sentence, "These books were written a long time ago before most people realized how harmful it is to kidnap a wild animal. Nowadays we know and there are laws against it in most places." "But is George okay then?" "The story says he's okay, so I guess so." They will leave it behind or not, depending on how literal a thinker they are.

 

Babar, well, we can either censor literature from the colonial period or we can discuss it. I prefer to discuss it. I don't think that Babar is wholly wrong, either... it is not MERELY that the land has been ravaged, that peoples in colonial nations make a choice to adopt many modern conveniences. It is not a simple discussion. "Are they happier now?" "Would you be happier?" "What do you think they miss?"

 

The world is full of evil as is history, so we don't shield it although I am sure I have different values and beliefs (particularly with respect to women) from many of those authors. 

 

I would shelve a book the purpose of which was to promote values that are hateful, not merely wrong. Like, I don't share all the values in The Giving Tree, but I don't believe it is hateful. We read it. They actually find it disturbing. But then, so can be Curious George. On the other hand, some books actively promote racism.

 

And I don't believe Babar is among them... I mean who wants to go live among the tribes, nobody but the king, nearly everyone else wants a mobile phone and a washing machine. It's a trade-off that is worth discussing.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admit to disliking Curious George as a read aloud because it is so formulaic, dull (for the 66th time), and (the original books) LONG. It isn't my cup of tea. I also dislike Dr. Seuss books (with only a couple of exceptions). 

We still have both around the house for when the kids want to read them on their own.

 

MercyA - Try not to take these posts as criticizing you, your parenting, or your choices. I know it is hard not to. Everyone makes different choices for themselves. Luckily, we're the ones who get to live with the consequences of our decisions - good or bad. 

 

On a completely different note, I, too, need to see if the library has Tom's Two Handles!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ping wouldn't make the cut. Spanking a duck just because he's last? The Amazon reviews of that book crack me up with people going on about how harsh it is. Of course, I've heard people complain about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, as well (the alphabet book...about letters) because they fall out of the tree and it made their children cry. To each their own. My children are not so naturally empathetic as to cry over letters, I suppose.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't take any of that seriously.  Have you ever read the reviews for the classic  'Good Dog, Carl' picture books?  There is a significant number of people who think they are examples of terrible parenting (Mother lets the dog babysit) instead of fun fantasy. 

 

If you think the Carl books are suggestions for allowing your dog to babysit, I suspect you aren't intelligent enough to raise children.

  • Like 22
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not the censoring that's the problem, it is someone getting sanctimonious about their parenting and critical of others who don't see the same need to limit that material as though they're bad parents. If they just said 'this is the way we do it because we believe these things have messages we don't support' it probably wouldn't be a big deal.

 

Yep

 

Although it seems it varies from person to person in terms of what their deal breakers are.  For example, I'd rather my kid see a naked boob than excessive gun violence or graphic war scenes.  Other people feel exactly the opposite.

 

The only weirdness with George was that he smokes a pipe.  LOL

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't take any of that seriously.  Have you ever read the reviews for the classic  'Good Dog, Carl' picture books?  There is a significant number of people who think they are examples of terrible parenting (Mother lets the dog babysit) instead of fun fantasy. 

 

If you think the Carl books are suggestions for allowing your dog to babysit, I suspect you aren't intelligent enough to raise children.

 

good grief

 

Peter Pan must be out too....

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lol. Or nana in peter pan.

 

I guess I don't understand the question. Who cares if someone doesn't like some books? I can't stomach babar because the illustrations of the monkeys look like ppl in blackface. It has affected my life exactly zero. Meanwhile I've been told my affection for gone with the wind indicated an underlying sympathy with both the confederacy AND a marital rapist. I just roll my eyes all the way back in my skull and get on with it.

 

Ppl like or dislike all kinds of things 99/100 times it doesn't matter at all to anyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These discussions make me very, very sad for the current generation of kids. :(

 

It both does and doesn't make me sad. Every generation has new books, a few books will always be cut, like Sadie said above. I don't think it's inherently sad. I mean, is the meta-silly of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus better or worse than the crazy adventure that is Are You My Mother? Meh. They're both fine. Shelves only have room for so much. I do feel a pang that "free range" classics are on the chopping block, in part because if lack of supervision makes a book undesirable to current parents, then that leaves so little. It's *so* narrow since undersupervision or just invisible adults (where is Max and Ruby's mother anyway?!? And Charlie and Lola's for that matter?!?) is such an incredibly common trope. But I also feel sad because that's something I do value. But then, I am more likely to seek out and read those books anyway because they reflect my values. Also, I don't fully buy that they're on the way out the door - I think the pendulum is swinging on free range issues and I suspect it'll swing on the books as well, at least somewhat.

 

But other reasons that parents eliminate books - like that they don't love the "everyone gets a trophy" assumptions of Rainbow Fish (which is clearly no longer the massive hit it was a decade or two ago) or because they don't like the animal cruelty messages in Curious George are much more understandable to me. You don't like the message, you don't read the book. I don't think that's sad. That's expected and normal. Which brings me to this...

 

Read all the things.  Have discussions about questionable parts.  Put it into context of the time when it was written in if needed.  Read the original fairy tales and nursery rhymes and talk about what lessons they are supposed to teach us.  Have faith that your children will be smart enough to figure out what's right and wrong, good and bad, questionable and unquestionable.  Not to mention, a book is a safe way to explore what might happen if questionable choices are made.  If you don't know what's bad, you can't know what's truly good.

 

Why would I read something to my child - or strew a book for them or give it as a gift - that reflects values I don't hold? I'm not going to get to have a deep conversation about animal cruelty or independence vs. supervision for kids or whether or not the Giving Tree is creepy or the boy is a jerk with a 5 year old. It's not that I don't have faith in the intelligence of my kids circa age 5. It's that it's a futile exercise. It's about as useful as expecting them to have a nuanced opinion of Pilgrim's Progress. It's just not happening. Now, might I want to read The Giving Tree with a 10 year old and use it as an opening to learn about how to pick apart a story and discuss it? Maybe, but that's different. I just think in a lot of discussions of older books, people say, "read the older books!" and "use it as a teaching opportunity!" but I think it's silly when you're talking about young children. I mean, you're not in control of what they take from a book totally, but if you don't believe in the message of the book, don't read it.

 

To be clear, I agree that people should read kids the original fairy tales. Dark stories are good for little psyches. But I feel pretty differently when we're talking about, say, Babar or Rainbow Fish or The Berenstain Bears and the Obnoxious Moral Lesson. 

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it was hilarious when I got a DVD of Sesame St episodes for my kids and it said it wasn't appropriate for children!  THat being said, I don't like the new Muppets, but the issue isn't so much that it is adult as it is obvious and lame.

 

Where the Red Fern Grows makes me think of My Side of the Mountain.

 

Or what about Where the Wild THings Are?  Boy gets put in time-out and has a psychotic episode as a result?

 

 

When my oldest dd (now 21) was little her favorite book to have read over and over was Sendak's In the Night Kitchen.  I guess she enjoyed the rhythm of it.  I shared it with another mom, to read to her child, and the mom was a bit shocked that I read that to my dd.  There was a naked boy in it! And the story was so absurd! 

 

I think while adults my have issues with Sendak's stories and art, he seems to be able to reach children.  

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MercyA - Try not to take these posts as criticizing you, your parenting, or your choices. I know it is hard not to. Everyone makes different choices for themselves. Luckily, we're the ones who get to live with the consequences of our decisions - good or bad.

 

Thanks, RootAnn. It's just a bit frustrating to me to be seen as some sort of joy-killing censor because I happen to dislike a particular popular classic. In my circles, I'm probably one of the most permissive parents in terms of what I allow my daughter to read. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why is "Blueberries for Sal" bad parenting that has to be explained? They pick berries and make jam together... added bonus, moral of the story, "Don't fall behind!" I don't think the child has to be eaten by the bear to get the point of that story. I love that story because for us berry picking is a special time of year so we do not find it boring at all. It is an exciting book about a hypothetical scenario that enters our real-world sense of exploration. Maybe you have to be from a berry-picking area to fully enjoy it. The munching on the berries, the kaplunk in the bucket... the three besides... the getting tired, all very real for us.

 

Or "Are you my mother?" Parenting? Of a bird? True, they are anthropomorphized to an extent but they are living in a nest... birds do what they do. How utterly bizarre.

 

I am a parent to young children, the youngest still in first grade. I assure you plenty of quite liberal, humanist people are still reading the classics.

 

As for Curious George... It just took one sentence, "These books were written a long time ago before most people realized how harmful it is to kidnap a wild animal. Nowadays we know and there are laws against it in most places." "But is George okay then?" "The story says he's okay, so I guess so." They will leave it behind or not, depending on how literal a thinker they are.

 

Babar, well, we can either censor literature from the colonial period or we can discuss it. I prefer to discuss it. I don't think that Babar is wholly wrong, either... it is not MERELY that the land has been ravaged, that peoples in colonial nations make a choice to adopt many modern conveniences. It is not a simple discussion. "Are they happier now?" "Would you be happier?" "What do you think they miss?"

 

The world is full of evil as is history, so we don't shield it although I am sure I have different values and beliefs (particularly with respect to women) from many of those authors. 

 

I would shelve a book the purpose of which was to promote values that are hateful, not merely wrong. Like, I don't share all the values in The Giving Tree, but I don't believe it is hateful. We read it. They actually find it disturbing. But then, so can be Curious George. On the other hand, some books actively promote racism.

 

And I don't believe Babar is among them... I mean who wants to go live among the tribes, nobody but the king, nearly everyone else wants a mobile phone and a washing machine. It's a trade-off that is worth discussing.

 

Well, I totally agree with you.  And I think often kids think about these things even if you don't always discuss them.

 

Although - about The Giving Tree - many people seem to think the book is promoting the attitude of the tree.  In fact Shel Silverstein was inspired by a kind of relationship that he felt was negative and damaging - women who stay with selfish and grasping men and think that by giving up everything of themselves, they can somehow be satisfied and satisfy the man in question too. 

 

Now - he doesn't actually make any comment in the book at all about whether the tree is making good or bad, or mixed, choices.  We see what she does and we see the outcome.  He gives the reader the job of coming to conclusions, and I think if he made the leap for us, it would probably be a pretty bad book.  So, I wonder why it is that so many parents, like the ones in my discussion group, are so sure that books should do that job, and if they don't they are "promoting" a particular viewpoint to children. 

 

Why do we assume that in children's lit, if a situation is presented without moral commentary, it is meant to be a good example?  We don't usually treat adult lit that way, and those who do are generally seen as bumpkins.

 

It makes me think of what Charlotte Mason said about being able to trust as parents and teachers, to give children room to come to conclusions and think things through.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't take any of that seriously.  Have you ever read the reviews for the classic  'Good Dog, Carl' picture books?  There is a significant number of people who think they are examples of terrible parenting (Mother lets the dog babysit) instead of fun fantasy. 

 

If you think the Carl books are suggestions for allowing your dog to babysit, I suspect you aren't intelligent enough to raise children.

. Oh my.  I llove those books, but I've never seen the reviews.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She is.

 

I have to say, I loved FIAR, but BfS is not the world's most interesting book.

 

But....there are the blueberry muffins to look forward to after the reading.

 

I just picked up this book at second-hand store so my oldest dd can continue the tradition with her oldest.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roller Skates is an odd, odd book.  The child is left with friends while her parents travel, which, in and of itself is normal of the time for children's books.  However, when she witnesses a murder it's just hanging there in the book.  She's encouraged to sweep it under the rug and life goes back to normal.  There's no talking about it, no understanding from an adult about the friend who was lost.  It's on several children's book lists and I never can get over that part of the story, no matter how many times I read the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even books written in the 70s and 80s would be out then. I am reading the Fudge series to my youngest. In that book the kids ride to school, go to their friends house without being walked there at 5 and navigate the city on their own in 4th grade. I find interesting that they changed the media words to things like MP3 player in the earlier books but yet the parenting styles are different so changing the name does not make it seem like it took place today. I wish it was more common today even if not all parents allow those sorts of things.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

lol, because families who censor for reasons other than 'PC' never get sanctimonious about it! Uh-huh. Lived long enough to know that one's not true.

 

For every nut-job mom who thinks Blueberries for Sal is an example of bad parenting, there's a family that thinks Harry Potter is a portal to demon-worship ( and they're not that shy about telling you, either ).

 

Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to make fun of both ends of the spectrum. It's just human nature that when we do it, we're calmly making mature decisions about our children's reading material. When other people do it, it's ridiculous!

You might be misunderstanding me - I agree with you on this. I think each family needs to decide what flies for them and not get judgy over parenting decisions others make. Most of it isn't important or dangerous and it's easy to get uppity about it, especially on the Internet. Chilling out and doing more discussing and less debating, as the OP was mentioning, is a good thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I shouldn't be taking these comments personally, but I was one who came out strongly against Curious George in the previous thread, so I thought I'd reply. I don't apologize for being vehement about the normalization of animal cruelty. I do try to be consistent in living out my convictions in day to day life. I am far from perfect, but I'm trying. ;) I'm not sure what you mean by not being "able to stand on [one's] own."

 

I apologize if my comments in that thread seemed sanctimonious. I truly don't believe reading Curious George to one's children makes one a bad parent! My comments were about the book, not about any particular parents. I'm aware that everyone has different world views and issues that are important to them. This board (and life!) have, I hope, helped me become less judgmental of other parents' choices.

 

I know when someone is very critical of something you enjoy, it's natural to take it personally. However, I do appreciate that this is a place where we can share our views freely. I'll try to be more aware of my tone in the future.

I wasn't thinking of you at all. I think we each need to make these choices for ourselves and live consistently with them :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

[i agree with you. I'm just spring-boarding off your point. I think you're absolutely right.]

 

My general issue, in general terms, on several topics (food, debt, vaccines, pick anything, literally), is not so much which hill any given person chooses to stand on. It's the attitude that everyone else must a) see that hill, b) personally embrace that hill, and c) stand on it unto death. And if others refuse to stand on the hill (or stand on another hill), they are doing irreparable damage to someone or something.

 

I don't know if anyone here feels that strongly, but it's the framing for a lot of arguments floating around "out there" these days. It's hard not to interpret individual comments in that light. I'll try, though.

Exactly :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...