Most helpful positive review
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Children DO deal with these issues
on December 27, 2004
I am a Lutheran Church librarian in Florida who bought this book for our church library. I think the work of every child is to figure out where he/she fits in the world. Why are some people this way and others that way? Is one way right and one way wrong? As we grow older we realize that there is right and wrong and also many shades of grey. We call this ethics. That is not really what this book is about. This book is about differences that children perceive and wonder about: differences in appearance--tall, short, chubby, thin, physical challenges, racial differences, and silly little things like freckles or hair color or wearing braces or glasses. I think Parr's heart is definitely in the right place. He tries to send to our kids a message of acceptance of these sorts of superficial differences but which kids (and adults) often blow way out of proportion. He's trying to at least let all kids begin life on an even playing field. Instead of seeing such traits and characteristics as detriments this book recommends that we just consider them unique traits and no big deal. This is a good message.
Most of the reviewers who dislike this book take it as a comment on ethics when I do not think that is really what it is meant to comment on. We all know that there are things that are right (telling the truth, being good peaceful neighbors, etc.) and things that are definitely wrong (lying, taking a weapon to school, child abuse, etc.) But this book is not about that. It is on a much, much simpler level. Since most children learn bigotry and prejudice by the age of THREE (!) it is imperative that we "bigot-proof" them very early in their lives, preferably before they begin school. This is a book meant for early childhood, when children become more aware of differences and wonder about them. Just take it at that level. And if you do not like to eat macaroni in the bathtub, then for heaven's sake, discuss it with your child!!! That is what books are for--to promote dialogue and thought. If eating macaroni in the bathtub is the oddest thing your kid ever does in life, you do not have a very curious or flexible child!
As a former art teacher, I like the bold colors and drawings--very nice. I think most kids who read this book come away with a rather happy attitude about the message. Most would probably think it whimsical with a hint of truth.