Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sweet dreams!

Whenever we go to the library, I let Jack borrow five books, two DVDs, and two books on tape or CD. The audio books are a new thing because I only just figured out that we are allowed to borrow them. I thought they were like encyclopedias or something. I clearly did not think that all the way through or it would have occurred to me that it makes no sense not to allow people to borrow the audio books since one cannot listen to them in the library. What did I think they were for? Decoration?

But I digress. The point here is that when we go to the library, we borrow five books. Sometimes I choose them and sometimes Jack does. His technique is to grab whichever books he happens to lay eyes on; I try to be more discriminating. But life with two tiny people being what it is, I don’t usually have time to linger over the pages and I often make snap judgments based on the title and/or cover art. Sometimes this works out well, like with I Read Signs by Tana Hoban. Sometimes, not so much.

Take yesterday, for example. Last Saturday, we roasted marshmallows on the charcoal grill, and thus talked at length about fire. (Have I told you about last Saturday? The day started with Jack and Andrew setting up the tent in the backyard. Then a flipping hot air balloon showed up in the park half a block from our house, and we got to take a free ride in it. Next, Jack, Andrew and Nora went to a party with 40 million other kids and had a wonderful time. Meanwhile, I stayed home all by myself in the house for four hours nursing a minor illness, so things weren’t so bad here, either. Hey, did you know that if you stay home by yourself, you only have to clean the kitchen once in a while? Like, if you hang out on the computer for two hours and don’t go back into the kitchen, when you DO go back into the kitchen it will be in the same state you left it! I KNOW. Wait, where was I? Right. The party. So then they came home and Nora went to bed and the rest of us roasted marshmallows and then Jack and Andrew camped out. It was a good day, is what I’m saying.)

So ANYWAY. We roasted marshmallows and talked about fire and how it’s dangerous and only grown-ups can start one, etc. etc. Jack was quite fascinated, so when I found a book in the library called What Happens When Fire Burns? I thought it would be perfect! “How nice!” I thought. “A book explaining to children how fuel and oxygen are converted to carbon dioxide and water! What a lovely bedtime story!”

We read it last night.

The cover. Seems innocuous enough.

Ah, yes. Fire is friendly! Comforting! The screen keeps us safe, Jack!

But let’s not talk about the screen until we get to THIS page, which shows a fire without a screen. The screenless fire seems like it might not be so safe, actually. Hmmm.

Some people use fire to cook, just like we did with the marshmallows! Neat, huh?

Yes, never light a fire by yourself, Jack. It’s very dangerous. Always ask an adult. All sound advice.

Uhh… but we have smoke alarms! That keep us safe!

Look, firefighters! Aren’t firefighters wonderful?

Um, yeah, cars can, um, burn. Foam! Look, the firefighters use special foam! Isn't that cool?

And… trees can burn too. Um. Hey, did you know firefighters have special airplanes, too? That put out forest fires?

Jack, this page is boring. Let’s not read it.

Oh, dear Lord. Listen, Jack, we use fire to make electricity and it’s destroying the world. You might as well find out now.

But look, we can clean up after a fire! It only takes many, many years! It’s all OK. Eventually. After we’re all dead, probably. Oh, that house? THAT'S gone for good.

I mean, REALLY. I am not positive of the target audience for this book, but I certainly hope it is not meant for preschoolers, despite the very large print and simplified language and definitions. Go back and read that page on explosions. Really read it. Seriously? “What would happen if there was an earthquake?” Well, kids, the gas pipes would break and then catch fire and then explode. We’d all die. Good night!

Mr. Pickles is horrified.

Happily, there were no fire-based nightmares, but my goodness. We won’t be reading THAT again.


Becca said...

There are some really inappropriate children's books out there. But, YAY firemen!

Bailey said...

Run, Mr. Pickles! Runnnn!!!

Swistle said...

This reminds me of when I was a child and accidentally checked out a children's book about Hiroshima. A CHILDREN'S BOOK. ABOUT HIROSHIMA. I remember there was a little anecdote about naming the bombs.

Heather R said...

OMG!!!! I am quietly laughing hysterically because I am reading this in a dark hotel room with Amelia in the next bed. But seriously this is SO FUNNY!!!! Your captions, not the book by itself. Amelia would have lost it if we read this....she would be asking a million questions all day every day about it and definitely not sleeping very well!! Also, that does sound like a great day you had and I know what you mean about the clean kitchen!

Krizzzz said...

Yeah. My mom found some really cool kid's book on various tops for James...and as we were flipping through them, we decided just not to show him the one on fires or the one on snakes. The fires were not as bad as what you have here, but neither was the book warm and fuzzy. And the snakes? Well, you know my issues, but just wasn't really about me: it was about the picture of the python preparing a snack for himself. He was all coiled up around the unfortunate snack, on either end of which coil you could clearly see the tiny snout, and tiny little rat feet. Really, people.

And yes, I edit some of James' dinosaur books as we go, for mature content. (But where do the dinosaur eggs come from, Mommy?) I also skipped a certain page of the Lion King each time, until he caught on.

Krizzzz said...

Wow -- I'm awash in typos back there. Mom found kids' bookS on various topICS. And the snake issues weren't about ME.

From the python on, though, I think we're good.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. If I can stop crying long enough to tell you how much I enjoyed this post, we'll be good. I just discovered your blog today {through Temerity Jane} and I have happily been going through the archives. This is hysterical. The book is dumb-founding but your tongue-in-cheek comments did me in. Can you even fathom what the author was thinking? Hmm,let's see. I think I'll take time out from telling kids Santa isn't real & poking sticks at kittens to write a book. What topic, you say? Something that will make their bowels watery. Obviously. Fire. Yep. Fire is good. Also devastation. Let's touch on safety but only as a guise to the real heart of my prose, which is intended to keep children holed up in a corner, rocking back and forth anxiously, wearing a fire-retardant blanket. Awesome. Now add pictures! *sighs happily* Thank you for sharing. I know that you posted this months ago, but I had to tell you how much I appreciated the laugh. You have managed to make being stuck inside during a snow squall not only bearable, but enjoyable. Oh, my! Do you think they wrote a book about snowstorms?
Thanks again.