Tuesday, February 27, 2007


An anonymous poster bligged: "When I read LHitBG to my kids (two boys, two girls) I sang the song (fairly tunelessly) and made no mention of what it was about: the age they were I think it was just a nonsense song to them, and they probably heard 'darkey' as 'donkey' anyway. There are other songs in the Little House series that are confusing or nonsensical, especially to children in the UK who don't know a lot of the history of the States. When they were older and there was reference to 'darkies' in Little Town on the Prairie, I was able to talk to the 10 yr old that was listening and explain it properly, and the children got the idea very quickly. You don't need to censor the past for them, I don't think."

Some valid points, and I agree--if I were reading to my nine-year-old niece, that is the approach I would take. My problem with my five-year-old is I don't think he's ready for the explanations; I could be putting some ugly ideas and vocabulary into his head without any background, vocabulary that he might easily repeat to other children without having much of an idea of what he was saying.

But of course, we don't want or expect every children's book to be completely appropriate for our five-year-olds. At least, I hope we don't.