Friday, August 11, 2006

Eggs Good for You This Week, Experts Say

your fairy bookmother brought up this question, after reading Beverly Cleary's Socks:

"What I really found interesting about the book, however, has nothing to do with its literary quality. As a new mother, I found myself agog at all of the outdated parenting philosophies practiced by the Brickers. They proudly feed their baby formula (I, on the other hand, was reading this book while pumping breast milk at work). They put him to bed with a bottle, on his tummy, in a crib with a big, fluffy, bumper and a teddy bear. Call the SIDS police, quick! I know that most children would ignore these particular details, but they call to mind a larger issue. When the insignificant details are dated enough to make an otherwise wonderful book unpalatable to its target audience, should those details be updated? I recently read that new editions of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Bloom, will feature more modern “feminine hygiene” products. Is this a good thing, or should we accept that every novel is a product of its time, and stop messing with them?"

I have to ask: who in Sock's target audience of 8-12 year olds is going to find the formula and crib bumpers unpalatable? Maybe some very aware kids, but I think they can live with the fact that ideas about parenting change.

And there we get to what really bothers me about this suggestion. Ideas about parenting change. So frequently. So fast. The thought of trying to update children's books to reflect, not truths, but trends, is utterly appalling to me. It can't be compared to updating feminine product info in a book for pre-teen girls; they're not even in the same league.