Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Danger on the Bookshelves

We are full speed ahead into our summer reading program. The triplets have been crossing books off of the 2 page, suggested reading listfor kindergarten. As the Mommie and storyteller, I am well versed in children's literature and popular books. In addition to the list, I am selecting books that I recall from my own childhood too.

The New Albany library is our home away from home. The kids are obsessed with checking out books- in a good way.

While I know they enjoy reading with me, I am beginning to believe that half the fun is the checking out process. We have scanners, theft removal devices and receipts to tally. Just getting the books ready to take home is entertainment. Of course, returning them is equally enjoyable.

As the prime story reader in our home, I have noticed a disturbing amount of danger hidden inside the treasures on the bookshelves. Maybe I am over-thinking it, but as a caregiver and educator it is my responsibility to mold these minds. As I do the voices, turn the pages, and convey the messages from these literary masterpieces, I sometimes cringe at the violence, gore and inappropriate hidden views inside the cover. We are reading a plethora of subjects and titles and I am able to find fault with many of them.

For example, Eli helped me realize that Good Night Moon is fraught with dangerous objects in the home. My four year old recognized that it was not safe to have an open fireplace in a child's (a bunny posing as a child) room.
Ever heard of baby-proofing the rooms? I am sure the author, Margaret Wise Brown, thought nothing of it, but really, a roaring fire with pokers, tools and implements within crawling distance from bunny's bed? A phone with a long cord next to the bed? Hello, a strangulation hazard! Not safe. Danger! Danger!

With Eli's love for duckies, we picked up, Robert Mc Closkey's, Make Wsy for Ducklings.
I was reading the story about the Mommie and her eight ducklings as they try to survive the route from the garden in downtown Boston. Meanwhile, the father duck is neglecting his wife and kids as he explores the Charles River by himself. An award winning book about deadbeat dads? Hmmmmm, if this Daddy Duck was at karate 3 nights a week there would be some serious parallels. Just kidding, Jeff- just kidding.

CJ and I read Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day.CJ was entranced by the thought of a Rottweiler as a babysitter. Carl takes the baby for a ride on his back, makes a slide from a laundry shoot and goes swimming in a fish tank. I would not even let Argenida do that and she is human. I might be mellow when it comes to micromanaging our babysitters, but I would never leave the kids alone with Lenny or Carl for that matter. Do you think Carl's neighbors have called CPS?

Charlotte chose the famous, Very Hungry Caterpillar from our own book shelf at home.I had never really given that book much thought until I realized it was about a bug with an eating disorder. Is this the message I want my girls to hear? Eric Carle writes about the caterpillar binging on junk food on one page, then starving herself so she can turn into a beautiful butterfly. Seriously, anorexia and bulimia undertones people. Why didn't I pick up on this sooner? This is some scary shit I am telling you.

Jeff reads a famous sales and marketing book to our kids all the time. He loves the Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham. While it is a lesson in marketing an unusual product, and trying to lure the customer into trying it, the premise of encouraging kids to eat what appears to be spoiled food products is not a good idea. I just spent all winter talking about germs, flu viruses and hand washing, especially after touching animals. No where in Green Eggs and Ham
does the Cat in the Hat have purell or a bar of soap to use when he finished eating them with a mouse. Ewwww, can you say bacteria laden food consumption? Dining among rodents? That is just nasty.

I have seized the opportunity to read with my kids. When we stumble upon stories that don't jive with my own parenting style, I am open to discussing that with them. I let my kids know that the book says it this way, but I would have done it differently. While I would not try to change the author's perspective, I do want my kids to be aware of the dangers that are lurking inside our lives and our bookshelves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please tell me you are joking....

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