Friday, February 27, 2004
Waber's later Lyle Crocodile books kind of turn my stomach, but when he's good he's magnificent.
I'm thoroughly opposed to didactic picture books, well, on second thought that's not true, but many of them leave a bad taste in my mouth --
and yet --
I found myself wanting to say to Tulip: "Hey, that duck isn't very nice. She didn't even say Thank You. She should have helped her new friends out of the muck."
Of course, the argument could be made that this book IS a moral book because it invites that very comment -- the readers are left to themselves to decide the obvious conclusion that the other animals are unhappy and the duck is ungrateful and impolite.
So I was surprised to find myself wanting that authoritative, authorial intervention -- some sentence from Alborough saying "hey, I'm not on the side of the duck, here!"
The way he leaves it, it can also be interpreted that the duck is just gleeful about leaving the others all muddy (because it's funny) and that we are meant to laugh at their predicament.
Maybe I've got no sense of humor and should just lighten up. Or maybe I'm right.
A list of Alborough's books is here: http://hallkidsauthors.com/A/12.shtml
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
I'm still working out this interface. Sorry. This is the link to the Little Golden Books site.
(and I think: why didn't his mother send him with some HEALTHY food if she didn't want him to eat all that honey?)
and then his friends at the picnic advise him to go swimming and dance, and roll down the hill, and of course he doesn't feel better, and then he goes home and is penitent, and his mommy helps him realize he shouldn't overeat or break his promises, and that's it.
So already, to my eye, this is an annoying book in which
1) BBB is led into temptation by his mother sending him off alone with a big jar of liquid sugar
2) given bad advice that's not even clearly identified as bad advice, such as go swimming after you've eaten a big meal, to the point that I was sure BBB was going to drown or at the very least throw up
3)learned his lesson in that bothersome way that the Little Golden Books have made famous, even though I do like some of them.
But here's the even weirder thing: the friends that BBB goes picnicking with are stars of various other little golden books: the Pokey Little Puppy is at the picnic, and the Tawny Scrawny Lion. So it's like the powers that be at Random House (which now owns Golden Books; there's actually a pretty good little history of the Golden Books and the Little Golden Books on their site) decided that the world of Golden Books was like Super Friends! That show where it turns out that Superman is pals with Green Lantern, etc. So it seems to me that the entire purpose of this book is really to act as a sort-of brand cement, glueing the various stories together so that child readers will connect them, even if they haven't noticed the similar binding.
Even Disney doesn't do this crap, at least not to my knowledge. I mean, there aren't books where Belle and Ariel and Nemo and Snow White are sitting around having tea?
well, I guess they do that at Disneyland. But not in books, I don't think.