A children's book about whining cover

How about some cheese with that “whine”?

A Children’s Book About Whining
Berry
1988

Gotta hand it to Joy. She is so optimistic that kids might reconsider their behavior after a moment of self reflection. I am of the mind that many adults haven’t quite mastered this skill. More than once I have faced off with a parent who had better whining skills than the average kindergartner.

I can appreciate the intent, but I doubt this book has very little impact on a child’s behavior. A better strategy is ear plugs and a drink (preferably alcoholic).

Don't slurp your soup

Table Manners for the Kids

What to do when your Mom or Dad says …
Don’t Slurp Your Soup!
Berry
1984

We have a lot of old Joy Berry books here at ALB. Her stuff from the 1980s is dated and I just don’t like the illustrations. However, her books are popular with kids. Rather, I should say they were popular with kids 30 years ago. I guess if it works for your library, then more power to you.

I will just throw some caution out there that since many of the topics are sensitive for both adults and kids, these books should be evaluated regularly. Language from even 20 years ago might be considered inappropriate in 2022.

This one is about table manners. Frankly, plenty of adults and kids would do well to review basic manners. Will a book make a difference? Probably not.

focus on marijuana

Focus on Mary Jane

Focus on Marijuana
Zeller
1990

I think a lot of folks would like to focus on marijuana. Since legalization (or decriminalizing) seems to be a trend, maybe an updated book is needed. There is also a statement about marijuana as a gateway drug. From what I can tell, this is still a debate from the scientific community. There is also no recognition of the on going research into the benefits of marijuana such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy.

I really don’t have an opinion on the benefits since my experience is limited to a shared joint in 1981. I was more worried about getting the munchies and killing any ambition to keep my ass from expanding any further.

These types of books kind of bother me. They have more of an agenda than about real information. I have had many a teen and preteen that must do a “drug report”. More than once I have had a teen question me on why marijuana is “worse” aka illegal than alcohol. Gotta say my favorite questions are ones where the teens call b.s. and ask me to help them get better resources so they make a case.

Every Kid's guide to the Juvenile Justice System

Criminal Kids

Every Kid’s Guide to the Juvenile Justice System
Berry
1987

Those of you who have been hanging around ALB for a while might recognize one of our “regulars”. (Here and here.) This time we have Berry tackling the serious issue of juvenile justice. To say that the look is a bit incongruous with the subject matter is an understatement.

The actual text isn’t bad for the late 1980s, but it does present a rather rosy view of how criminal justice works. I am quite certain that many non white folks are going to dispute this view. My other beef with this book is that I am not sure what age group she is targeting. The text is a bit dense for some elementary students but book looks like it might be targeting the young elementary.

Regardless of content, nonfiction or informational books really do need to define the target audience and present material in an appropriate way. I can see the older elementary crowd saying it looks young and the younger crowd becoming frustrated with the vocabulary.

tv Time '78 cover

TV of the late 1970s

TV Time ’78
Herz
1978

We have featured many of Peggy’s books here on the site. She generally writes pop culture type stuff for youth. Probably not the most glamorous of writing gigs, given the parameters. Totally appropriate for the time and probably was good for those reluctant readers looking for stuff about television shows. All the big hits from the 70s and 80s are here: Rhoda, Mork and Mindy, and Happy Days.

She also did compilations like this one. A little bit of age appropriate gossip and some pictures of the celebrities. All clean and sanitized for our sensitive children.

big stick cover

Size matters

How big is a stick?
Podendorf
1971

This is very dated. The illustrations are bizarre and look even older than early 1970s. Andy and Jerry go around comparing sticks to body parts. (Of course I immediately wanted to make a bunch of tasteless jokes, because it is just too easy.)

Andy and Jerry need better hobbies and they need to be a bit more clever with names. 80 percent of this book is focused on the naming and comparing of these sticks. The last bit is when Andy and Jerry’s dad shows up and talks about rulers. The end.

I have questions. I want to know why they have so many sticks. Don’t these people gather them up? Don’t they need kindling? What about all the dogs in the neighborhood?

6th Grade Really Kill You cover

Friday Fiction: 6th Grade Can Really Kill You

6th Grade Can Really Kill You
DeClements
1985

Just recently we posted the book called How do you lose those 9th grade blues? with the ultra creepy older boyfriend? This another book in the series, where Elsie is a background player to Helen. Helen has some sort of learning disability and also acts up. She struggles with reading and is called dumb (and worse). Naturally, not all the teachers can see this problem and are just awful and inflexible. A new teacher sees the problem and wants Helen in a special education program. Helen’s mom doesn’t want her in a “special” class due to embarrassment and the stigma.

cover

Little Women for the Preschoolers

Little Women
Hughes (adaptation)
Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott
1994

This version of Little Women was weeded recently from the picture book collection. Spoiler alert! Beth doesn’t die. Evidently, Beth’s illness is too much for the average 2-6 year old.

This movie tie-in adaptation is terrible. Little Women is not something that can be condensed into a few pages and be appropriate for preschoolers.