Thursday, June 02, 2005

Kids' Books My Kids Ignored

Some kid lit books are written strictly for children, some can be read by everyone, and others only appeal to parents. I checked out two books that I liked but my kids showed no interest.

The first, All the World's a Stage by Rebecca Piatt Davidson, is essentially a variation of "The House that Jack Built" centered around Shakespeare and his plays, including The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale (but not mentioning "exit pursued by a bear").

A couple of incidents in Shakespeare's plays that would make a kid sit up and listen might be:

*Crabbe the farting dog from Two Gentlemen from Verona

*In Titus Andronicus, tricking the main character into chopping off his hand to save his sons who are secretly already beheaded after being framed for the rape and mutiliation of their sister and the murder of their brother-in-law

*Just the premise of Othello in red states

*Just the premise of The Merchant of Venice in blue states

*Joan of Arc conjuring demons and sleeping with half the French Army in Henry VI, Part II

Of course, a book like that might get you arrested and your kids sent to therapy but it could compete with cartoons.

The other book, Science Verse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, looked funny but neither kid would sit through even the shortest poem. The "Verses" were parodies of famous poems, set up around scientific matters like "Evolution" based on "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Astronaut Stopping by a Planet on a Snowy Evening." This would be a good book to buy creationist parents just to piss them off but they might not read it either.

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