Sunday, May 29, 2011

F is for Froggy

Kids love the Froggy books by Jonathan London. They aren't necessarily my favorites, but I can put up with them.

Froggy has the usual prescribed adventures that are so common in children's series. He learns how to swim, how to ride a bike, plays with each parent in turn. The catch phrases in each book are his mother yelling "FROOOOOOOOOOOOOOGY!" and his "WHAAAAAAAT?" reply. He usually does something that causes him some embarrassment and looks "more red than green." The books all follow a formula, which allows for the repetition that kids like. His experiences are conceivably familiar to children.

I haven't read as many of the Froggy adventures in the last decade. My students are not bringing them in to share and they are not books that actively seek. I don't think I even own any of them.

Peruse a couple and see how you feel about them.

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.

GBE 2 Challenge

I don't know how frequently it will fit in, but there is a weekly blogging challenge that I joined. On Sundays, a topic is posted in the Group Blogging Experience group on Facebook. We are supposed to blog on that topic, if we can find a way to make it fit in. I realized that I was able to fit the first topic in all of my blogs, and yes, I am behind by a day. But that is okay. I am still going to do it, anyway. :-)