Author Topic: What is up with children's books  (Read 31667 times)

onehair

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #100 on: December 01, 2015, 01:01:13 PM »
I bought 3 books for my nephew.  One is a 9 books in 1 Golden Books set I got from Costco the other two are about a puppy and a pirate I got from Barnes and Noble.  I did weed through stacks more at Barnes and Noble than Costco. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #101 on: December 03, 2015, 06:14:40 PM »
And pink and purple really stand out (especially if they tend to neon) so they are easy to find.  I have never understood red/orange/yellow flagging, in fall they disappear into the leaves.  Bubblegum pink does not occur in nature, easy to see.  ;-)

My DD wore her cousins' hand-me-downs when she was little - her cousins were boys and my sister couldn't believe I would want boy colours for a girl (navy and black mostly).  ?!?!?

At least the pink handled tools (hammers, pliers, etc.) at the hardware stores are that colour so the guys won't walk off with our tools.   ;-)

Re: gender specific toys and books

I think I've figured it out... it's a purely financial corporate decision to make sure there are fewer hand-me-downs.

If kids and parents can be programmed to reject toys or books for the "wrong" gender, people can be induced to buy a bunch of new disposable crap for each child, instead of passing on favorite toys that still work.

Consider: a family with both a boy and a girl could potentially be manipulated into buying two Easy-Bake ovens.

Oh, absolutely.

Because god knows what would happen should a boy use a *gasp* PINK toy hammer, right?

We had a problem with hand tools disappearing from my shop at work so I spray painted a bunch pink and purple. That fixed it...

MrsPete

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #102 on: December 08, 2015, 08:29:00 AM »
I'm actually wondering now if it would make more sense to read and discuss racism, rather than simply avoid the issue entirely.  You can find instances of racist speech in a ton of older books children's . . . Treasure Island (I'm sure I remember some offhand comments about black people that wouldn't stand up to a re-reading), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the oompa loopas were black pygamies),  Chronicles of Narnia (the Calormenes were black or Arab non-christians and thus were evil, except when they converted), Little House on the Prarie (didn't treat Indians very well from my recollection), Peter Pan (also pretty bad portrayal of Indians).

Maybe it would be best to explain a bit about the time that these books were written, and how things have changed.
I can top those:  As a child, I actually owned a copy of Little Black Sambo.  I think it was a Little Golden Book.  I can't remember the plot, so it must not've been a favorite -- or maybe one of the adults in my life confiscated it early on.  Regardless, I can remember having the book, and it probably would've been something like '68-70. 

Have you caught onto the "new way" to portray African stories?  You can't use people anymore -- might be construed as racist, even if that's not your intent.  Nope, if your story is about African characters, they're portrayed by animals.  Lion King led the way, but others have jumped on the bandwagon since then. 

dramaman

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #103 on: December 08, 2015, 09:28:44 AM »
I'm actually wondering now if it would make more sense to read and discuss racism, rather than simply avoid the issue entirely.  You can find instances of racist speech in a ton of older books children's . . . Treasure Island (I'm sure I remember some offhand comments about black people that wouldn't stand up to a re-reading), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the oompa loopas were black pygamies),  Chronicles of Narnia (the Calormenes were black or Arab non-christians and thus were evil, except when they converted), Little House on the Prarie (didn't treat Indians very well from my recollection), Peter Pan (also pretty bad portrayal of Indians).

Maybe it would be best to explain a bit about the time that these books were written, and how things have changed.
I can top those:  As a child, I actually owned a copy of Little Black Sambo.  I think it was a Little Golden Book.  I can't remember the plot, so it must not've been a favorite -- or maybe one of the adults in my life confiscated it early on.  Regardless, I can remember having the book, and it probably would've been something like '68-70. 

Have you caught onto the "new way" to portray African stories?  You can't use people anymore -- might be construed as racist, even if that's not your intent.  Nope, if your story is about African characters, they're portrayed by animals.  Lion King led the way, but others have jumped on the bandwagon since then.

Good grief, Disney has a long history of telling stories with animals as the main characters predating the Lion King. There is no reason to think that fears of being construed as racist, motivated Disney in regards to the Lion King.

dramaman

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #104 on: December 08, 2015, 09:29:23 AM »
So one of our foster kids collected an insane amount of Halloween candy.  We told him he could trade the pieces for coins to buy whatever he wanted and by Thanksgiving, he'd amassed enough to buy a book.  I fully expected we'd be getting to the bookstore and picking up the third Wimpy Kid book which had just been published.  He was keen on owning a complete set.

But when we got there, he selected a book on sharks.  He was seven.  Picked it out, paid with his own money and then taught us about the alligator gar.  I don't know the formula for making a kid be like that.  He showed up with a love of reading, and allowing him self directed access in the library and bookstore worked out well. 

He still read plenty of fiction, but the shark book was the beginning of his "reference library."  This thread brought back many fond memories.

Neat story. I like the idea of trading Halloween candy for books.

GuitarStv

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #105 on: December 08, 2015, 09:45:41 AM »
I'm actually wondering now if it would make more sense to read and discuss racism, rather than simply avoid the issue entirely.  You can find instances of racist speech in a ton of older books children's . . . Treasure Island (I'm sure I remember some offhand comments about black people that wouldn't stand up to a re-reading), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the oompa loopas were black pygamies),  Chronicles of Narnia (the Calormenes were black or Arab non-christians and thus were evil, except when they converted), Little House on the Prarie (didn't treat Indians very well from my recollection), Peter Pan (also pretty bad portrayal of Indians).

Maybe it would be best to explain a bit about the time that these books were written, and how things have changed.
I can top those:  As a child, I actually owned a copy of Little Black Sambo.  I think it was a Little Golden Book.  I can't remember the plot, so it must not've been a favorite -- or maybe one of the adults in my life confiscated it early on.  Regardless, I can remember having the book, and it probably would've been something like '68-70. 

Have you caught onto the "new way" to portray African stories?  You can't use people anymore -- might be construed as racist, even if that's not your intent.  Nope, if your story is about African characters, they're portrayed by animals.  Lion King led the way, but others have jumped on the bandwagon since then.

Good grief, Disney has a long history of telling stories with animals as the main characters predating the Lion King. There is no reason to think that fears of being construed as racist, motivated Disney in regards to the Lion King.

Yeah.  Plus, the Lion King was totally copied from the Japanese 'Kimba the White Lion' comic book.

dramaman

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #106 on: December 08, 2015, 10:16:29 AM »
I'm actually wondering now if it would make more sense to read and discuss racism, rather than simply avoid the issue entirely.  You can find instances of racist speech in a ton of older books children's . . . Treasure Island (I'm sure I remember some offhand comments about black people that wouldn't stand up to a re-reading), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the oompa loopas were black pygamies),  Chronicles of Narnia (the Calormenes were black or Arab non-christians and thus were evil, except when they converted), Little House on the Prarie (didn't treat Indians very well from my recollection), Peter Pan (also pretty bad portrayal of Indians).

Maybe it would be best to explain a bit about the time that these books were written, and how things have changed.
I can top those:  As a child, I actually owned a copy of Little Black Sambo.  I think it was a Little Golden Book.  I can't remember the plot, so it must not've been a favorite -- or maybe one of the adults in my life confiscated it early on.  Regardless, I can remember having the book, and it probably would've been something like '68-70. 

Have you caught onto the "new way" to portray African stories?  You can't use people anymore -- might be construed as racist, even if that's not your intent.  Nope, if your story is about African characters, they're portrayed by animals.  Lion King led the way, but others have jumped on the bandwagon since then.

Good grief, Disney has a long history of telling stories with animals as the main characters predating the Lion King. There is no reason to think that fears of being construed as racist, motivated Disney in regards to the Lion King.

Yeah.  Plus, the Lion King was totally copied from the Japanese 'Kimba the White Lion' comic book.

I thought about mentioning that, but after doing a bit of googling, it appears that despite similarities the evidence of Lion King having copied Kimba the White Lion is not so clear cut. For instance the similar names - Simba vs. Kimba. Turns out that simba mean lion in Swahili.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimba_the_White_Lion#The_Lion_King_controversy

GuitarStv

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #107 on: December 08, 2015, 11:30:27 AM »
I was more talking about the scenes that were blatantly ripped off (http://www.kimbawlion.com/kimbawlion/rant2.htm) and the character designs (http://www.kimbawlion.com/kimbawlion/60ani5.html) rather than just the name of the main character.

shelivesthedream

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #108 on: December 09, 2015, 01:57:07 AM »
I would be willing to bet that there are as many talking animals in Disney films as people (if you count up every named character in every film, not random extras).

MrsPete

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #109 on: December 09, 2015, 03:15:57 PM »
Good grief, Disney has a long history of telling stories with animals as the main characters predating the Lion King. There is no reason to think that fears of being construed as racist, motivated Disney in regards to the Lion King.
Well, that's quite a twist on what I said.

ginastarke

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #110 on: December 10, 2015, 07:10:14 AM »
Since it's a used store I'm going to say that it's the same problem I have with finding classics used:  Nobody wants to part with the good ones. Churned out  mystery novels?  Used book stores have them by  the ton, along with Romance and the latest political cash- in. CS Lewis, almost never.  I've learned that unless i'm really fortunate, If i want a classic that's not some classes'  required reading, I'll have to get it new. I'd assume kids book's are the same since I'm an adult that still has my copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day. 



dramaman

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #111 on: December 10, 2015, 07:19:06 AM »
Good grief, Disney has a long history of telling stories with animals as the main characters predating the Lion King. There is no reason to think that fears of being construed as racist, motivated Disney in regards to the Lion King.
Well, that's quite a twist on what I said.

If I misinterpreted you, I apologize. But based on what you wrote...

Quote
Have you caught onto the "new way" to portray African stories?  You can't use people anymore -- might be construed as racist, even if that's not your intent.  Nope, if your story is about African characters, they're portrayed by animals.  Lion King led the way, but others have jumped on the bandwagon since then.

"Lion King led the way" seemed to imply that the movie led the way in terms of using animals instead of people in African stories because of concerns of being construed as racist. If that is not the case, I assume you meant something along the lines of the people seeing the Lion King and realizing that it could be used as a template for how to tell African stories using animals instead of people and thus reducing the risks of being construed as racist.

Personally I question the entire premise that merely substituting animals for people provides much cover if the storytellers continue to depict the same negative racists stereotypes and tropes that are objectionable in African stories from earlier eras. It's sort of like certain aliens in the Phantom Menace star wars movie. These are aliens, not people, so how could anyone object to anything they did? But many people did find them offensive because the aliens (Jar Jar in particular) were clearly displaying certain human negative racial and ethnic stereotypes.

onehair

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #112 on: December 11, 2015, 09:13:13 AM »
Sambo didn't catch flack from us for the story it was the way it was illustrated.  It seemed to be popular at the time to portray us with coal black skin big red lips and hair that not even a sheep comb could untangle.

I liked the Lion King in the animated form though Scar was my favorite character.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #113 on: December 11, 2015, 09:03:44 PM »
Since it's a used store I'm going to say that it's the same problem I have with finding classics used:  Nobody wants to part with the good ones. Churned out  mystery novels?  Used book stores have them by  the ton, along with Romance and the latest political cash- in. CS Lewis, almost never.  I've learned that unless i'm really fortunate, If i want a classic that's not some classes'  required reading, I'll have to get it new. I'd assume kids book's are the same since I'm an adult that still has my copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day.

I scored Alexander AND If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at the library book sale for a dollar each. Sometimes people get more than one as gifts, maybe.

justajane

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #114 on: December 12, 2015, 07:16:52 AM »
Since it's a used store I'm going to say that it's the same problem I have with finding classics used:  Nobody wants to part with the good ones. Churned out  mystery novels?  Used book stores have them by  the ton, along with Romance and the latest political cash- in. CS Lewis, almost never.  I've learned that unless i'm really fortunate, If i want a classic that's not some classes'  required reading, I'll have to get it new. I'd assume kids book's are the same since I'm an adult that still has my copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day.

I scored Alexander AND If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at the library book sale for a dollar each. Sometimes people get more than one as gifts, maybe.

We just got our first Half Priced Books in town, and while I was pleased with the clearance prices of children's paperback series like Goosebumps and others (between $1 and $2), the used board books were quite expensive! And board books show wear so easily, so I didn't see the point of paying $3 for a used board book, even if it was a classic.

I've had pretty good look at Goodwill for $.50 though.

K-ice

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #115 on: December 20, 2015, 09:26:32 AM »
Here's an interesting book.

"Wabi Sabi: An Unusual Children’s Book Based on the Japanese Philosophy of Finding Beauty in Imperfection and Impermanence. "

https://www.brainpickings.org/2010/11/11/wabi-sabi/


Tabitha

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #116 on: December 27, 2015, 08:22:41 AM »
Years ago one of my nephews really wanted an Easy Bake Oven.  Family was surprised the toy had changed from the long-standing yellow to neon pink.  There was some parental debate about it.  They eventually managed to find him a "Spooky Bake Oven" at Christmas.   It came in neon green and all the pie pans had the shapes of insects.  :/
When I wanted an easy bake oven at the age of 7, my mother looked it over and then bought the 'refill cake mix set' and showed me how to use the oven safely. When my brothers had eaten all the cakes in a week, she gave me some full size cake mixes. When those were gone, I got a cookbook and learned to make scratch cakes. The first rule was 'cook cleans the kitchen or privileges are withdrawn'.
I know where I get my frugal legs.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #117 on: December 27, 2015, 10:10:41 AM »
Years ago one of my nephews really wanted an Easy Bake Oven.  Family was surprised the toy had changed from the long-standing yellow to neon pink.  There was some parental debate about it.  They eventually managed to find him a "Spooky Bake Oven" at Christmas.   It came in neon green and all the pie pans had the shapes of insects.  :/
When I wanted an easy bake oven at the age of 7, my mother looked it over and then bought the 'refill cake mix set' and showed me how to use the oven safely. When my brothers had eaten all the cakes in a week, she gave me some full size cake mixes. When those were gone, I got a cookbook and learned to make scratch cakes. The first rule was 'cook cleans the kitchen or privileges are withdrawn'.
I know where I get my frugal legs.

That's awesome! I gave my kids a cookbook for Christmas (Pretend Soup, which has preschooler-friendly pictorial directions) and hand-sewn aprons. (Couldn't find any I liked.) Big Brother found his apron so empowering, he insisted on cooking Christmas breakfast:

SisterX

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #118 on: January 10, 2016, 02:13:03 AM »
I find this whole thread sort of enlightening.  Have I just gotten really good at ignoring all of the advertising that's sold as a product, or is my area better than others for not being so blatant?  The last time I went to the bookstore (the B&N, because it's easily biked to, even with a toddler in tow) did have some of that stuff, but mostly I was seeing Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, Little House, and yes all the Wimpy Kid books, as well as amazing young children's books.  Has anyone else looked at "The Book With No Pictures"?  Or "Room on the Broom"?  What about "On the Night You Were Born"?  So good. 
We've got quite a library for my Munchkin (all gifts) and not one of the books is just an ad in disguise, so I'm having trouble figuring out how it could be so hard for others to find good books for little kids?  (However, I will jump on the bandwagon of hating on "The Runaway Bunny".)
Also, don't idolize the Little Golden Books too much, and I don't even mean because a lot of them were basically ads themselves.  The ones that aren't?  Still total crap.  We have two and my 2-year-old loves them but my husband and I always quote Despicable Me to each other: "This passes for literature?"  One of them I change the wording, every time I read it.  The kitten isn't fucking shy, she's curious goddammit!  The cynical part of me thinks that she's described as shy because that was considered an appropriate attribute for a female at the time of writing.

RetiredAt63

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #119 on: January 10, 2016, 04:14:22 PM »
When DD was younger she loved the Robert Munsch books (especially the Paper Bag Princess).  Also "My mother is weird".

dramaman

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #120 on: January 11, 2016, 07:23:08 AM »
I remember listening to a librarian being interviewed whose opinion that we shouldn't be too critical of the quality of books that kids read. Let kids choose what they want to read. Her belief was that ANY book that motivates a young person to read is good.

Kitsune

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #121 on: January 11, 2016, 07:42:40 AM »
I remember listening to a librarian being interviewed whose opinion that we shouldn't be too critical of the quality of books that kids read. Let kids choose what they want to read. Her belief was that ANY book that motivates a young person to read is good.

I don't disagree FOR THE MOST PART, but I have 2 objections:
1) SHE can read whatever she wants; I don't want to repeatedly read Disney Princesses, or thinly disguised marketing manuals, TO HER. I'm objecting based on my personal teeth-gritting through reading.
2) Any book is good in terms of motivating them to read. I'll object to things that I think teach horrible values (hyper-consumerism as a starting point, racist BS and misogynist twaddle as a follow-up), but I generally prefer to deal with those as discussion points rather than forbidding them. Plus, based on my experience as a kid, forbidding a book just means they're going to run to it that much faster....

dramaman

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #122 on: January 11, 2016, 07:55:43 AM »
I remember listening to a librarian being interviewed whose opinion that we shouldn't be too critical of the quality of books that kids read. Let kids choose what they want to read. Her belief was that ANY book that motivates a young person to read is good.

I don't disagree FOR THE MOST PART, but I have 2 objections:
1) SHE can read whatever she wants; I don't want to repeatedly read Disney Princesses, or thinly disguised marketing manuals, TO HER. I'm objecting based on my personal teeth-gritting through reading.
2) Any book is good in terms of motivating them to read. I'll object to things that I think teach horrible values (hyper-consumerism as a starting point, racist BS and misogynist twaddle as a follow-up), but I generally prefer to deal with those as discussion points rather than forbidding them. Plus, based on my experience as a kid, forbidding a book just means they're going to run to it that much faster....

Regarding #1, my strategy when reading is to insert my own humorous observations, asides and editorial suggestions into any book with content that I find objectionable or just plain dull.

Regarding #2, it sounds less like an objection than a clarification. Any concern about content is one that you address through discussion rather than outright prohibition.

Kitsune

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #123 on: January 11, 2016, 08:02:58 AM »

Regarding #1, my strategy when reading is to insert my own humorous observations, asides and editorial suggestions into any book with content that I find objectionable or just plain dull.


And THAT is how Cinderalla became a thrilling tale of anti-monarchy spies disguising their weaponry in their stilettoes and engaging in long-term political schemes up to and including marriage with the express purpose of overthrowing the monarchy. (She was 14 months old, and insisted on reading Cinderalla for the 8th time that day. I couldn't. take. it. any. longer.)

rufflina

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #124 on: January 11, 2016, 12:42:07 PM »
There are lots of great new children's books...I have been using the California Department of Education Recommended Reading List, which has 1000s of books recommended by grade level with short descriptions. My strategy is to check out as many as I can at the library and let them pick what appeals to them from the stack. If they enjoy reading about certain things I can use the the descriptions to find more books about that. I can keep most of the books for more than three months at a time.

http://www3.cde.ca.gov/reclitlist/search.aspx

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #125 on: January 11, 2016, 08:43:50 PM »

Regarding #1, my strategy when reading is to insert my own humorous observations, asides and editorial suggestions into any book with content that I find objectionable or just plain dull.


And THAT is how Cinderalla became a thrilling tale of anti-monarchy spies disguising their weaponry in their stilettoes and engaging in long-term political schemes up to and including marriage with the express purpose of overthrowing the monarchy. (She was 14 months old, and insisted on reading Cinderalla for the 8th time that day. I couldn't. take. it. any. longer.)

Reminds me of this incident:

Kitsune

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #126 on: January 12, 2016, 06:34:02 AM »

Regarding #1, my strategy when reading is to insert my own humorous observations, asides and editorial suggestions into any book with content that I find objectionable or just plain dull.


And THAT is how Cinderalla became a thrilling tale of anti-monarchy spies disguising their weaponry in their stilettoes and engaging in long-term political schemes up to and including marriage with the express purpose of overthrowing the monarchy. (She was 14 months old, and insisted on reading Cinderalla for the 8th time that day. I couldn't. take. it. any. longer.)

Reminds me of this incident:

EXACTLY omg.

Although I'd probably moderate it once she's old enough to understand. (Price Charming might not be stabbed with the heel of that obnoxious shoe on his wedding night...)

RetiredAt63

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #127 on: January 12, 2016, 02:33:10 PM »
Wow,  Prince Ronald (Paper Bag Princess) gets off easy compared to this!


Although I'd probably moderate it once she's old enough to understand. (Price Charming might not be stabbed with the heel of that obnoxious shoe on his wedding night...)

midweststache

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Re: What is up with children's books
« Reply #128 on: January 12, 2016, 05:01:06 PM »
Wow,  Prince Ronald (Paper Bag Princess) gets off easy compared to this!


Although I'd probably moderate it once she's old enough to understand. (Price Charming might not be stabbed with the heel of that obnoxious shoe on his wedding night...)

I gave Paper Bag Princess to a friend of mine who has a daughter, and she loves it. "RONALD! You are a bum!"