Sunday, May 29, 2011

Expectations in Children's Literature

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a snob when it comes to children's literature. I have simple expectations from what I share with kids, but sometimes they seem too high when compared with the options currently available. I want a good story that is fun to read aloud. I want decent illustrations that don't look like they came from the Dollar Store. And darn it, I want the subject matter to be appropriate.

I remember when I was trying to do book reviews for people. One of the books I got was about a cow that had a farting problem. Really? Now, I come from a family where flatulence is funny, but we never expected it to be in literature. Gassy the Cow and Walter the Farting Dog just do not strike me as great reads.

I have Kindle on my Droid and I am a free ebook junkie. I peruse the Amazon Kindle store at least once a week. I finally came across a bunch of free children's ebooks to download. But I noticed that a lot of them are about burping and other stinky stuff.

Yes, it makes kids laugh. Yes, I chuckle when I see a lot of it. But I hate reading it to kids. They often have a hard time determining when the jokes are appropriate and where to draw the line. I don't think they provide any kind of teaching experience.

And I am not saying that all books need to be a teaching experience. Some of them should just be fun. But the moral values of society today seem to be deteriorating rapidly. I just think that children's books shouldn't be contributing to that decline.


  1. I think I am far more of a snob than you, Andi. For me, children's books have just lost the plot. What happened to fabulous books like 'How much do I love you' or Where the Wild Things Are'? Instead we get obnoxious brats getting away with bad behaviour, gratuitous bodily noises and an appalling lack of actual stories. I'm beginning to think I'll have to start a revolution and write some decent flippin' books for my grandson to enjoy! A though-provoking piece :)

  2. I agree that there are some gross kids' books out there. Those horrible Captain Underpants come to mind. I remember my sons enjoying those. I think there is still good quality kids' lit out there but it takes a while to sift through the junk to get to it.

  3. I agree completely with you! I am often floored by the subject matter I find at the library deemed suitable for children. At times, I just can't believe they wrote about such a thing, even though I find it hysterical. They didn't have books like that when I was little. Great blog!