Book Review: Children's Books

>> Saturday, February 28, 2009

Many moons ago, I wrote a post about arming my children against consumerism. I mentioned that my library had ordered a book called The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials and that I would let you know how it was once I got it. Well, if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm pretty slow about getting things done. I got the book from the library two months ago, and I'm finally getting around to reviewing it. But to make up for my tardiness, I've included two bonus reviews. A three for one!

The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials
by Jan and Mike Berenstain

Synopsis: Every time Brother and Sister Bear watch TV, they start asking Mama Bear for the newest and latest candy and toys. They're excited when she indulges them...until another commercial convinces them they need the next new thing. The unused toys are piling up, there are boxes of super sugary cereal going uneaten, and Mama Bear decides to come up with a plan to teach her cubs they can't believe everything they see on a commercial.

My opinion: I laughed as I read this book because Mama Bear could have been quoting me. Her explanation for the trouble with commercials was almost word for word the same thing I said to First Son. But having Mama Bear say it must be more effective than when I do. Maybe it's coincidence, but First Son hasn't asked for Motts applesauce since we read this book.

Too May Toys
by David Shannon

Synopsis: Spencer has too many toys. They are taking over the house: every step his mother and father take, they land on a toy. Finally, Spencer's mother decides it's time to give some of the toys away. Spencer argues and negotiates and says he can't bear to part with anything, but eventually he and his mother fill up a box of toys to give away. But when his mother comes to get the box after a tea break, she discovers the toys all over the floor again. Spencer explains, "Mom, we can't give away this box. It's the best toy ever!"

My Opinion: I love, love, love this book because it is so true. The toys my kids play with the most: boxes, paper and crayons, an old keyboard and anything they can bang on (they're budding artists and rock stars).

Miss Rumphius
by Barbara Cooney

Synopsis: As a child, Miss Rumphius decides that when she grows up, she will travel around the world and then find a place to live beside the sea. Her grandfather tells her those are worthy goals, but she must also find a way to make the world more beautiful. Miss Rumphius does exactly as she planned: she travels to exotic lands and then when she is old, she settles in a cabin by the sea. But how can she make the world more beautiful? Miss Rumphius decides to fill her pockets with lupine seeds, and everywhere she walks, she tosses the seeds. The next spring, lupines grow all over the town.

My Opinion: I love the message of this classic book, though I'm not sure about Miss Rumphius' method for making the world more beautiful. Planting flowers is all well and good, but maybe she could have become a motivational speaker or an activist to save the oceans or something that would really make the world more beautiful. Either way, this is a lovely and fun book to read to your kids.


Joyce February 28, 2009 at 2:05 PM  

We loved Miss Rumphius! I like her independence and adverturesome spirit.

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