Friday, January 22, 2021

Alexander as Reviewer 2

I'm taking two classes this semester, which doesn't feel like a lot but at the same time is...seeming to be quite a lot of reading and writing. And that's fine. But it does seem to be cutting into my blogging time a bit, which is unfortunate because the kids are still saying and doing hilarious things. 

Just last night we called everyone for scriptures and prayer and when everyone was settling in, Alexander burst out with, "That boo-it ih 'TUPID!"

He ran over to Andrew, who had just sat down and was holding a book in his hands that he'd picked up so that he could sit down, and hit the book. 

"We don't talk like that," Andrew said. 

Honestly, I think this is the first time I've ever heard Alexander say the word 'stupid,' and his said it with so much passion!

"Well, it true!" Alexander said. 

"What don't you like about the book?" Andrew asked. 

"Well, thi' per'on doe' 'tuff that ih mean to thi' per'on and thi' per'on won't leave thi' per'on alone! And that ih ju't DUMB and MEAN and DUMB!"

"A scathing review," Andrew noted. "But do they at least learn to get along in the end?"

"No! They don't! And that why it DUMB! Betuh we 'ould be ni'e to each-uh-er!"

He's not wrong. 

When we got all those many books a few weeks ago we weeded out the duplicates and gave those away but we kept pretty much everything else, figuring we could weed through the collection as we read things. I put all the Valentine books in a bin in the music room and this particular book (Don't Be My Valentine) was from that collection. The kids in the book are quite mean to each other, but in the end they do make up and agree to do better...before going right back to fighting with each other (so the last page of the book is the two kids glaring at each other once again). So it doesn't end well. 

It was published in 1985 and expectations for stories have changed a lot since then (apparently—for contrast you can try Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, which we also read last night, and which has a similar storyline but which ends with the kids getting along (Alexander had no issue with this story)). 

While it's probably truer to life that the kids would delve right back into their petty fighting (I have kids so I know about these things), it's not what we expect to see in modern picture books. But, truly, it will probably take these two characters quite a lot of effort to be comfortable with each other (and the teacher should perhaps consider moving their desks apart to give them some breathing room).

This might end up being a book we pass along (or I can see how much I can fetch for it on Amazon—there's a copy of this book for sale for $768.57 ((now down to $60?) though to be fair, that's a new copy; ours is obviously used so would only be worth like $10 (so not worth the effort of trying to sell it))).

Anyway, Alexander's book reviews didn't stop there. After family prayer he ran to the book bin and grabbed a stack of Valentine board books. We have four of them.

"Will you read all of these books to me?" he asked.

"Sure thing," I said. 

"This boo-it is 'TUPID, too," he said, holding up a copy of Lilly's Chocolate Heart. "Because she says she wants to save her last chocolate heart but in the end she puts it in her mouth and eats it and that is NOT how we save things! But I still want you to read it. And this boo-it (Kisses for Daddy) is 'TUPID because the baby doesn't want to go to bed and doesn't want to take a bath and doesn't want their daddy to hold them upside down to tickle them and that's 'TUPID because it's great when daddies do that. But I still want you to read it, too."

By now I'm beginning to suspect that Alexander is perhaps feeling a little bit grumpy and ready for bed, himself. He doesn't always carry Reviewer 2 energy, however. He also had a few recommendations.

"This boo-it is nice," he said about Love and Kisses. "The girl shares a kiss with her cat and in the end her cat brings a kiss back to her after all the other animals share kisses and that's just nice and I like it!"

And about Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! he said that he likes that it's the mouse from the If You Give books getting together with all the friends from the other If You Give books, which is so nice because they don't usually get to see each other in their books so it's nice that in the end they all get together and give nice Valentines to each other.

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