Don’t Call Me Fatso
Submitter: This is a “sensitive” story about Rita who is overweight. Rita has to face being weighed in front of her entire class and being told she needs to go on a diet. She then is bullied by her classmates in art class and swim class. She uses food to deal with her emotions. But after some effort, Rita finally looses weight where she is told she is a healthy girl and no one bullies her anymore.
This book came to our attention after a horrified story time mom found it on the shelf. The book has not circulated in at least ten years. I took the time to read the book and the story has a lot of mixed messages. Childhood obesity is certainly an important, but complex topic, that would be difficult to tell in a short children’s story. A lot of things are glossed over like bullying and self-esteem. The doctor says she needs a diet at one weight and then after losing only 5 pounds she is suddenly healthy. I don’t know how one writes a book for kids on this topic, but this one is not it.
Holly: Books like this bother me more than just about any other thing. Jennifer Jean the Cross-Eyed Queen got her eyes fixed and suddenly had friends. Maggie went on a diet and suddenly had friends. Make it stopppppp!
Bridget of Cat’s Head Point
Submitter: I think the man on the cover (that look on his face!) and Bridget’s hair are what struck me at first. Apparently there really is a Cat’s Head Point in northern Michigan! I had to keep the book, personally, just for a laugh from time to time.
Holly: 1994? I would have guessed early 1980s for a publication date on this one. This “Great Lakes Romances” series was a slam-dunk collection choice, especially in Michigan, when it was published almost 24 years ago. Libraries in the Traverse City, MI area might have a reason to keep it. The rest of us can let it go if it no longer circulates. There is a reader survey form (included with the images below) that is completely useless now. That guy on the cover does have an odd look. Is he supposed to look mad? Is the sun in his eyes? Is he plotting her demise?
Be Glad You’re Neurotic
1946 (original copyright 1936)
From my admittedly low effort research, Be Glad You’re Neurotic is an example of early pop psychology publications. (Think of this as a proto Dr. Phil or John Gray type of book.) Bisch wants everyone to embrace their inner crazy, the idea that this is what makes you a better human (ie. superior). Bottom line: You can cure yourself by just embracing your inner freak. Lots of hype and no substance, especially when Bisch starts utilizing his theory on social problems. Guess you can be “different” but not too different.