Friday, September 19, 2008


Check out the comments to read Julie's take on Mercer Mayer, and mine on the Berenstains.

Remember when I used to tell you about books every Friday?

I forgot too.

Take a peek over to the left (It's okay -- I'll wait while you click through from your feed reader) and you'll see that I actually updated the book basket.

We've been reading lots of Eric Carle and Mercer Mayer with a bit of Angelina Ballerina thrown in for good measure.

I am trying to introduce more poetry. Eric Carle's Animals Animals is a great start. I have a few more out from the library now that I will try to review next week.

Cousin F is currently Angelina obsessed. I let her choose one title per week from the library. Thus far we have read:

Next week we may try out


Julie said...

I struggle with the sarcasm in the Mercer Mayer you? Hubby and I feel like lil critter is a bit disrespectful to his parents. We've talked about chucking all of the MM books in the trash *gasp! books in the trash?* but we haven't done it yet.

Mr. Intensity LOVES Mercer Mayer and that's one reason I don't want to toss them. Another is that they were some of my favorites as kids and some books are from my childhood.

What do you (or other readers) think?

reprehriestless warillever said...

Happy Easter, Little Critterwas our introduction to Mercer Meyer and Little Critter. Other than one sarcastic aside about the equity of Easter candy, I found the book cute and righteous. With some prodding from his father Little Critter helps one of the little bunnies find eggs in the Easter Egg hunt. Unlike other mainstream picture books, the Critter family dresses up and goes to church before they can eat their treats. Even the moralistic Berenstain Bearsdidn't mention church in their Easter book.

Agent 004 loves Little Critter, and she digs through the tub of board books at the library every week looking for new titles. Thus far all of them have been about Little Critter pretending that he is an adult with a profession like doctor or construction worker. Agent 004 giggles and says "he didn't really make her better!" Then she runs off and pretends to be doctor for the next ten minutes.

Even if the text is simplistic, the fact that these books inspire her imagination make them non-twaddle as far as I am concerned.

Are there specific titles we should avoid because of disrespect?

MerrandaVK said...

I haven't read the Mercer Mayer books. But we do read lots of ERic Carle books/Dr. Seuss/Little House on the prairie, Lio Lionni books right now. I am always looking for good ones to add to our ever growing list. We have Pancakes,Pancakes right now and the kids just LOVE it

Tanya said...

Hello - I was just reading and noticed your post about good chapter books for young kids. And, after checking out your blog I see you are a book blogger, too. I am a mom (15 years, 3 kids) bookseller (13 years) and lifelong kid's book lover. I just started a blog reviewing kid's books in an effort to help parents find the right books for their kids. In addition to reviews, I have reading lists (like good read out louds for kids 5 and under) as well as tips on how to determine reading levels and more. Hope you will check it out and find it useful! Regards - Tanya at

Julie said...

so I went back and looked through some of the MM books. I think what bothers me is the disapproving expressions on the parents' faces when Lil Critter is being mischievous or disobeying. I suppose it's not THAT big of a deal. It's just that the parenting philosophy that Hubby and I prescribe to, we *try* to separate the sin from the sinner. I don't want Mr. Intensity to think that I don't like him because he messes up. We try to communicate that we love him but will not tolerate sin/disobedience.

The title that we esp. don't like is "I Was So Mad." But that story is in a bigger book (it's a collection of MM stories in a hard back) so we don't want to throw away the hardback b.c we don't like "I was so mad." So, we just refuse to read it.

In your response above, you also mentioned the B. Bears. Hubby and I are cautious about reading those, too. Mostly b.c the way the dad is portrayed (lazy and stupid). Maybe we're overly protective or sensitive. I remember my parents reading those books (BB) to me as a kid and I didn't grow up least I don't think I am. :) Then again, my parents would both consider themselves feminist. I'm a recovering feminist, so I'm *trying* not to laugh at man-bashing jokes, even in kids' books.

reprehriestless warillever said...

I have similar misgivings about the Berenstain Bears.

The funny thing is that I never liked them as a kid; I found them preachy and unimaginative. My 4yo daughter and 3yo niece, however, love them.

In particular, I do not like the way that Papa is portrayed in The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor. Papa is a bumbling fool. Fortunately the portrayal is so over-the-top that I don't think that it paints all men poorly. He, Papa, is a doofus. Not all men. Agent 004 and I have talked about Papa's behavior in that book several times, and she understands (insomuch as a 4yo "understands") that false bravado is ridiculous. All people, even big Papas, catch colds and get sick sometimes.

Papa is not all bad, however. InThe Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room it is Mama that flies off the handle and Papa that comes up with a realistic solution.

And that Mama.... in the Easter book I mentioned in the previous comment -- The Berenstain Bears and the Real Easter Eggs -- she is very dismissive of the cubs and more interested in her garden chores than in Sister's big news. Of course, Papa is a childish buffoon in that one too...

The series is uneven. For example, The Berenstain Bears' New Baby is horrible (please, please do not read it to your child who is expecting new sibling), but The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five is wonderful. Stan and Jan Berenstain really learned from the complaints that received about New Baby (check out the reviews on Amazon), and came back 26 years later with a much improved story in Baby Makes Five.

I think we may have a series of posts germinating in these comments...