Friday, March 02, 2007

more commentary

Beth Mitcham bligged:

I found myself altering books that made references to how boys and girls always hated each other and didn't play together, because when my kid was five he had *no idea* this was an important boy meme. I just didn't want to start putting the idea in his head.

I find myself more likely to hide ideas than words, though. I've even read curse words to him, which surprised me and doesn't always happen if I'm awake enough to think ahead.

I hear you on not wanting to put ideas into their heads. There's a ton of stuff floating around Little House in the Big Woods that doesn't thrill me, but the fact that it was written so long ago and takes place even longer ago makes it easier to deal with. Just about everything about Laura's life is different and I think my son mostly understands when I talk to him about the differences. Last night we read about Laura getting whipped, and he asked me what that meant; my explanation included the idea that most parents today don't believe in whipping children. (If you disagree, please don't tell me about it...)

He asked me last night if Laura was a real person; that was so exciting to me! I started the books just hoping they would be something we could enjoy together, but to see him getting a sense of history from them is a big bonus. I'm afraid they're going to get too sad for him a few book down the road, but we shall see.

(When I told him today was Dr. Seuss' birthday, btw, his comment was "I thought Dr. Seuss was dead." Hard to argue with that...)

stone knives and bearskin

As if not being able to send the Cat in the Hat a birthday card weren't bad enough, lately every time I try to access Jen Robinson's book page or Big A, Little A, my browser acts like it has St. Vitus' Dance. (I'm still reading, via Bloglines, just can't comment.) I had to fight through eight screens of nonsense just to get the URL for that Brookeshelf link a few days back. Anyway, just so you know I'm not ignoring you on purpose...

I hated that darn cat, but...

Random House is doing a promotion today: send a birthday card to the Cat in the Hat and Random House will donate a book to First Reads for each card sent. They say you can send more than one, so go for it. (If it will load for you--I'm having problems, but I have Stone Age software.)

While on the topic, MotherReader has written a fabulous hallucinogenic Ode to our favorite Good Doctor. She also directs us to a blog collecting our favorite Dr. Seuss lines, which I will have to get to later.

For my own tribute to Dr. Seuss today, I did a little research on something I've wondered about every since reading Happy Birthday to You. Was Dr. Seuss really writing a pro-life stance into his books? This interview with one of his biographers says vehemently, no:

Amanda Smith: And then, also, the anti-abortion lobby in the United States has used a line from Horton Hears a Who, the line that says, "A person's a person, no matter how small." Would that have been in accord with Seuss's intended meaning?

Philip Nel: Absolutely not. In fact, during his lifetime Seuss threatened to sue an anti-abortion group unless they took that off their stationery and they did take it off their stationery but it's still used. I've still seen propaganda in recent years from pro-life groups that have adopted Horton's line, "A person's a person, no matter how small." It's one of the ways in which Seuss has been misappropriated. He would not agree with that.