Hello, Dear Readers!
Today I get to participate in a fun activity started and run by the super hilarious blogger Ninja Mom. It’s the Character Assassination Carousel, where writers make fun of children’s books! Woohoo!
I’m inspired by a paper I found in my son’s backpack last year — he created a fake book jacket for one of his school novels, Watership Down. It’s classic heroic fantasy novel about rabbits, so of course he hated it.
He wrote these reviews:
“The worst jumble of words to ever be barfed onto paper.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Fine, the book’s great. Just put the gun down!” –Scholastic Publishers
Have you ever dreaded reading that book to your child? Perhaps it’s an extra long and detailed account of Cinderella, and, although you love spending time with your little one, you can only think about how you really need to take a dump and want to play Words with Friends, maybe even at the same time.
Other times your child wants a story with such an annoying character that you’d rather the book disappear forever.
My book nemesis is Junie B. Jones. Junie B. is supposed to be funny, but sometimes I want to lock her in a closet.
She’s mean to other kids, so I want to be mean to her. Or laugh at her and join in with making fun of the other kids — I’m not sure. Just another reason I’m not a teacher. Junie B. does not bring out the best in me. She calls kids names, talks about how she can beat them up, and says rude and sassy things to everyone, including adults. I’m not sure if I love her or hate her.
But worst of all, she uses terrible grammar. Every time we used to read a Junie B. Jones book, I had to stop every 5 lines or so to correct her grammar. Here’s an example of Junie’s narration: “Then she quick handed me the jar. And she runned right out of the room.”
Arrghh! My kids were already disadvantaged when it came to spelling because we lived in the deep and dirty south — around people with heavy accents — for quite a while. When my daughter entered kindergarten, she thought that “thing” was spelled “thang” because that’s how she pronounced it. It was cute, but I could just imagine her college essay: “I want to contribute to the research center of this university science department more than anythang.” I didn’t need my impressionable children saying “runned” too. (My computer’s spell checker is about to have a heart attack.)
Junie B. is funny, but she lets her freak flag fly high. In Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, she can’t decide what to bring for her class Pet Day. At her family’s suggestions, she considers ants and worms but finally decides on the perfect pet: a fish stick. Yes, a breaded, frozen fish stick was her pet for Pet Day. That’s strange, and I think she needs a private school for either geniuses or special ed. I’m not sure about that girl.
This makes more sense when you read about the author — she’s odd. In an author interview on Amazon.com, Barbara Park discussed her most recent picture book. Here’s how she describes the book:
“It’s called, MA! There’s Nothing to Do Here! It’s about a baby in utero who is bored out of his mind…The idea for it was born (so to speak) when my daughter-in-law, Renee, invited me to my first grandson’s ultrasound…On the way out of the doctor’s office, I remember thinking, Okay, so now we’re all going back to our busy lives. But the baby is still in there just floating around. Except for an occasional kick or hiccup, he’s got absolutely nothing to do.”
You can’t make this stuff up, folks. When I read about that picture book, I quick runned in the opposite direction.
Just kidding, Barbara! It sounds great. Just put the gun down.
Read more in the Character Assassination Carousel! Last week: Bethany at Bad Parenting Moments ridicules The Rainbow Fish. Coming next week: Domestic Goddess at The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess.