Childhood favourites (Was Oh the horror!)

hallieod at indigo.ie hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Feb 12 18:03:50 EST 2003


>>Widdy:
>>
>>>>  Love You Forever (double bleagh),
>>>
>>>
>>>I'm amazed at how many adults love this book and think that 
>>>children will too. Don't get me wrong, I love Robert Munsch, his 
>>>"Paper-bag Princess" "Stephanie's Ponytail" and "Thomas' Snowsuit" 
>>>are some of my favourite books to read and read aloud. Kids adore 
>>>them. Kids respond less enthusiastically to "Love you forever". I 
>>>think it's some adults' idea of what kids will like - but it's 
>>>just too heart-on-the-sleeve for kids to sit still for more than 
>>>once.
>>
>>We all *loved* _The Paper-bag Princess_.  So much fun.  I'm not 
>>sure about _Love You Forever_, but I'm getting a bad feeling that 
>>it was something the kids other grandmother read to them.  Becca 
>>thought so, but found it disturbing to remember too closely!

Yes, it was the one in their grandmother's house.  (Not my mother, is 
what I meant by "other" grandmother.)  I think I heard it once and 
was not even remotely persuaded of how "cute" it was!

>>
>>Another one I'd have expected to find on people's lists is _The 
>>Giving Tree_.  Seemed to have pride of place in a lot of 
>>pre-schools in the US when we were there.  I did a violent swing 
>>against it (we'd loved reading a lot of Silverstein's poems to 
>>Becca) after clicking onto the fact that the Tree was female, and 
>>her role was to give and give and mutilate herself to try to 
>>satisfy this horrible Boy. (Yeah, Weird Readings Ltd. - that's my 
>>name.)

Just to clarify - I didn't mean that I'd have expected to find it 
*here* on people's list of favourites - I meant in Jackie's first 
class, if they were listing the books she mentioned, I'd have 
expected to see _The Giving Tree_ too.  (I have a fever of 102 - I've 
got an excuse for not making much sense right now!)

>
>I truly *hate* that book. Yes, because the tree is female and she is 
>only happy when she is sacrificing herself for the boy who does 
>nothing to deserve anywhere near that level of sacrifice and never 
>even thanks her. Great. I think people believe it's about learning 
>to be generous and loving - when I think it's about teaching people 
>to allow themselves to be used (is this what a Strong Reading is?)

Well, if you asked me, I'd say it was a strongly sensible reading! 
:-P   I think you're right, about people thinking of it as being 
about learning unselfishness - probably all those pre-school teachers 
are just hoping to avoid a small proportion of the fights over toys 
they have to deal with all the time.  And boy, how NICE it is to find 
someone else who views it the same way!  I did manage to convince my 
ex, who was initially very skeptical, by getting him to imagine the 
Tree as someone from a racial minority, instead of a female.

>
>In the two and a half years I worked at the book store, I never 
>recommended it to one customer, never made sure we had "enough" 
>copies in stock. If someone asked for it I gave it to them, if they 
>didn't then they didn't hear about it from me!
>
>I, of course, own a copy (go figure) that I won't get rid of because 
>my dearest friend in all the world gave it to me at a very special 
>time. It's not on the list of books that I'll give to my goddaughter 
>or nieces or nephews though (and I seem to be the designated book 
>giver).

Lucky them!

Hallie.
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