on Oct 23rd 2009
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During the discussion of Brooke McEldowney and Maurice Sendak’s incivilities, several parents mentioned that they wouldn’t read Sendack’s books to their kids because they were too scary. It got me wondering what other books y’all kept from your kids and why.
Personally, I was okay with Sendak’s books: my kids found them subversive rather than frightening, and that’s the sort of thing they liked. The only books I ruled off-limits were the Berenstain Bears.
I was never a great fan of their repetitive nature — they always involved one of the Bears taking up some objectionable behavior, such as Brother Bear teasing Sister Bear, then a lesson being learned and the behavior stops — but the young’uns liked them so I’d reluctantly read the books to them. I was already getting concerned that after a point these books could be putting bad ideas into kids’ minds when we got to the one where a panda family moved next door. And the Bears were all “oh my God pandas, there goes the neighborhood” and they did everything but burn a cross in the pandas’ yard and I’m thinking what… the… hell???
Of course it all turned out okay because the Bears realized that pandas are just another kind of bear (which in fact they’re not, of course) and that their bigotry was misguided. Not because bigotry is wrong, apparently, but because pandas are just another kind of bear. Presumably if it were a rabbit family moving in next door, it would be okay to organize a lynch mob.
I remember my younger son was 3 1/2 at the time, and I told him we were through with the Berenstain Bears. I told him when he could read by himself he could read them — in Barnes and Noble only, because I wasn’t going to buy them — but I wanted no part of them (and there’s actually a funny epilogue to this, but it’s irrelevant here)
Anyway, the question is, What popular children’s books would you not expose your children to and why?
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