1.08.2010

NAKED ELEPHANTS

It's been an interesting experience visiting the library with my kids. Our local library is pretty humble, just a store front with a small children's section. However, they do have a weekly story time. Sometimes it's not very entertaining, which I don't mind because it's a good way to prepare the kids to be reverent during boring things (i.e., church). Other times it is very good and the kids get really into it. Afterward, we always check out about 5 or 6 books for the week. Lately, I've been trying to check out the children's classics and guess what, I have discovered that most of them are very strange. In fact, I don't get why a lot of them are so classic.


It was disappointing to discover that the original Curious George is actually really boring and wordy. If it wasn't for the television show and movie, the kids would have had no interest in the book. The illustrations did not entertain them and the story was kind of convoluted.


Horton Hears a Who has got to be the longest "children's" book I have ever read. The kids enjoyed it, but after reading it twice in one day, I nearly lost my voice. The moral of the story confuses me. "A person's a person, no matter how small," makes sense. Although, if we all tried not to harm communities of ticks floating on dandelions, that would make for a very strange existence. Can you really blame those monkeys for thinking Horton needed to be locked up?


This week I checked out Babar. Turns out that Babar is the strangest book of them all. The writing is very listless. The bizarre story follows Babar's journey from the jungle to the city. He learns about wearing clothes and how to drive a car. In the end of the story, he marries his cousin. She is also an elephant that wears clothes. My problem with animals that wear clothes is that once you start covering up selected parts of their bodies, it seems strange not to do it anymore, or to only cover up certain parts (aka "Donald Ducking" it). After seeing Babar in so many fancy outfits, I feel embarrassed seeing him naked on the cover.

I have only mentioned the strange classics. On the bright side, Eloise, Clifford, and Cat in the Hat are still really good books.

10 comments:

  1. very very insightful....
    what about the talking animal thing? George just grunts...but horton has full on conversations...

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  2. Haha, I totally agree with you on this! As a kid I loved reading "Goodnight Moon", but we bought it for Chandler for Christmas and now I think it's just weird... "goodnight nobody" and "goodnight mush"? How DO some of these books become "classics"? I also really liked the Bernstein Bear books and still do, Luke is probably old enough now to enjoy them if you haven't tried them already!

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  3. That's IT! "Donald Ducking" it totally sounds like a catch phrase. Your comments about naked Babar also made me laugh. I hadn't thought of that BEFORE but now I'll never be able to look at him without shame again!

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  4. Cristin! Oh its been too long. I stalked your blog today by linking you through Elaine. You've got some cute boys. It's fun to catch up in a one sided sort of way.

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  5. I stumbled across your blog, so cute! I love your honesty. Nice to feel like I'm not the only ordinary housewife out there just trying to make it. Feel free to check out my blog via my profile.
    Marci

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  6. I loved Babar! I still do. (Maybe I was a boring kid.) I also thought Curious George was pretty cool. Maybe I'm weird, but I kind of miss some of the classics. A lot of the current kids' books I see my nephews bring home seem kind of dumb - really cool illustrations but no substance.

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  7. I think you are right! Maybe the lack of variety "way back then" contributed to the book's popularity, and the snowball effect took place...hmmm

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  8. Cristin, I think YOU should consider writing children's books because a) you're a great writer and b) you have a very active imagination. (Remember your wild dream about hosting a last-minute reception for John Krasinski and Emily Blunt at your house???)

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  9. You've got to try "The Happy Hocky Family" by Lane Smith.

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