January 22, 2010


I take the girls to the library to check out books about once a week, sometimes once every two weeks if we are really busy.  Both my girls love to read books before bedtime.  It's become part of the bedtime ritual around here.

Normally, we go, and I just let Hattie grab books because libraries are meant to be quiet, but with two children, aged 3 and 1, quiet is hard.  I don't want to disturb everyone else.  Once in a while I scan the books while there to make sure they're not too long b/c bedtime rituals shouldn't take hours, but other than that, I rarely look in the books to actually see what we're getting because I want to get in and out.  I guess you could say that I totally judge a book by it's cover ;).  Then, once home, I never pre-read them before reading them to the girls.

This has only gotten me in trouble once in over a year.  After reading Hattie a new library book one night, Sean came out of her room and said, "Why'd you get Hattie a book about divorced parents?"

I had no idea.  The book was called A New Day for Sophie or something like that and had a cartoon picture of a smiling girl all happy and stuff on a swing.  She did not look like a little girl whose parents had just ruined her life as she knew it.

Then the other day, back at the local library, Hattie handed me this book:

Learning about opposites - great!  Cute elephants - great!  It was a no brainer to put the book in the stroller for checking out later.

That night, Hattie picked two princess books and a Fancy Nancy book to read well before bedtime, so when getting ready to put Mary Ellen down for bed, I grabbed the opposite elephant book to read to her because, after opening the cover, I discovered it only had two words per page (and they were opposites - imagine that!), and little sister has a much shorter attention span than big sister.  She prefers less words and more pictures.  She's one.

So we started reading it.  The first couple of pages were harmless enough: Big {insert picture of a big elephant}, Small {insert picture of a small elephant}.  Tall {insert picture of a tall elephant}, Short {insert picture of a short elephant}.  You get the picture.  
Then I turned the page to this:

First of all, the stupid elephant looks happier than the smart one (what's up with that?!?!), and second of all, there are just some words that I don't want used in my house EVER.  One of those words is on the above pages, and it ain't "Smart!" ;)

Maybe you are saying, "Big deal.  That's not that bad.  Just say a different word, like unintelligent.  Hattie can't read yet."  Touche, but what about this:

Um......... graphic!  I mean could the boy elephant have just been wearing a tie and the girl a bow between her ears or something?  Did you really need to go there?  And why does the boy look so much happier than the girl?!?

Before looking, I was certain that this book had to have been published like 40 years ago atleast.  In our current world of total PC, this would never fly.  

Nope, it was published in 1999.  I just couldn't believe it.  However, on further investigation, I discovered that it was originally published in French and was translated to English in 2001.  BINGO.  That makes total sense to me now ;).

Needless to say, Hattie will not be reading this book ever.  Thank goodness I read it to the oblivious 17 month old first!  And I have learned my lesson.  Censorship is necessary with toddlers, and I will find the time to go through library books before my kids get their hands on them in the future.


The Jasters said...

OH MY G O O D N E S S!!! I will definitely be flipping through Luke's book before checkout at the library next time we go.

KatieLee Photography said...

WOW! That is really scary! The French and Europeans definitely have a different view of what they think is appropriate for children! You should carefully cut those two pages out of the book and return it to them "edited"!!!!

The Joiners said...

HA oh my gosh this is great... I mean, it's awful, but the boy/girl picture made me laugh out loud :)

Beth said...

That is soooo funny! I literally laughed out loud as well...

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