Adult Questions for Children's Books

You know you do it too. You're sitting there with a kid on your lap, reading a famed classic like "The Little Engine That Could" and you are thinking. Who didn't run a maintenance check on the original engine before the train set out for the other side of the mountain?
Or you read Goodnight Moon and wonder who "the little old lady whispering hush" really is. The Grandma? A Nanny? A local old croon who likes to sit in childrens bedrooms?

And so that brings me to a review of two books Jamie picked up at the library yesterday.

Little Blue (my favorite) and The Five Little Firefighters (Jamie's favorite by a landslide)


The cover is so pretty and magical, I don't even know why we need to read this book when we can just look at it, but read it we do. Over and over. My adult questions are immediately apparent.

What kind of minature little girl goes "chink" when you accidentally hit her toe?
Why does the little boy who found her go from 10 times her size, to tiny like her?
Oversight on the illustrators part? Some abstract and intelligent reason, there only to confound and annoy the adults reading it aloud?

None of the above! There is a very good reason for all of this. Little Blue is actually a piece of broken china who has been lost for a long time and is now found. Yay! Happy ending. No lingering questions, and beautiful beautiful artwork on top of it all. If you know any fairy loving little girls, they will adore this book. Jamie likes it moderately well, but at four he likes any book that has pictures and is not too wordy.

Next up...

Jamie cannot get enough of this book. There isn't very much to read at all, just a few dialogue bubbles and a line a narration here and there. But they are well placed to squeeze out the most action and excitement. My child positively squeals in anticipation when I turn the page. I however, am not so easily impressed, and thus have annoying questions.

Why are they called little firefighters? There's nothing little about them. In fact they look far bigger and meatier than any of the other characters in the book. And they have mustaches and muscles. Not exactly conjuring anything "cute" or "little".

The firefighters rescue a family from their burning apartment. Apparently the term "people who set their apartment on fire" conjures up every low income apartment stereotype the illustrator could think of. Maybe they were "sticking it to the man" and refusing to be politically correct when they chose to make the victims a frizzy overweight woman married to a skinny, pot bellied guy with a five o clock shadow and wearing a wife beater. I found it awkward and distasteful.

There is one girl firefighter, proving that they couldn't entirely shun political correctness. She's as big as the men are. This makes me curious. Is she really over 6' 4"? Or are the firefighters all around 5' 11" making everyone else in the town midgets?

She also sleeps with the men. Five beds lined up like the seven dwarfs. Surely that's awkward for her? Maybe she doesn't mind because she is 6' 4" and every bit as manly as the rest of them.

Maybe she's actually guy with a blond ponytail.

Whatever the case, I'm off to read it again. It's being urgently waved in front of my face to the point where I can't type anymore.
1 sprinkles of fairy dust:

RofL. Why doesn't our library have those books?? I am dying to read them now.

I can def relate to puzzling over questions that I guess the author or illustrator thought the kids would just ignore. Hahaha