my dad lives in a hotel

Friday Fiction: Another Dad dumps his family story

My Dad Lives in a Downtown Hotel
Mann
1973

For those of you looking for a totally depressing book about divorce for your kids, this might qualify. The beginning has our kid, Joey, found his mother sad and depressed when he got up for breakfast. Evidently, Dad didn’t come back after a fight last night. Mother is just devastated. Joey has trouble coping and hides in a closet at school.

Joey then begins his quest to talk to his father. This Dad is no prize. Joey remember how is Dad taught him to swim by throwing him in a pool with the “sink or swim” comment. After school Joey decides to find his dad and talk to him about being a better kid. Dad is disinterested and is barely engaged as Joey presents him with a written promise to be a better kid. Dad still says no to being married to Mom. Joey makes peace after his friend, Pepe says lots of kids don’t have a dad at home.

growing up cover

Growing Up

Growing Up
de Schweinitz
1956 3rd Edition (Original Copyright: 1928)

This is another find in my Swedish Death Cleaning Project

Yes, it has been a while since I posted a selection from my Swedish death cleaning project. I did manage to clear out a bunch of stuff and recycled or donated a good chunk of the personal library. However, since we are getting carpet installed in this room and need to move the furniture around, this little gem was parked behind some stuff and fell out when we were packing stuff up.

This book is geared to children. From the text and illustrations it seems a bit much for the younger crowd, so maybe they are thinking upper elementary. It’s basic sperm meets egg. The author has some animal metaphors for how this sperm and egg thing work. We have some cameos by cows, horses, sheep, and trout. There is also an illustration of birth.

Libraries cover

National Library Week-Another book for the kids

Today’s National Library Week choice is this 1964 book about libraries that was still in circulation as of this writing. I was impressed that it actually didn’t look worse. Other than the yellowing pages, it is in pretty good shape. The text isn’t too bad, but it is rather dense for the kids. To a kid in 2021, this is really not helpful.

As a librarian, I have some comments. The lady on the in the illustration about the Mazarin Library really shouldn’t be leaning on the display like that. My first impression was that she was sleeping. In the final illustration of the “modern” library, some of the card catalog drawers are not closed properly. Is it too much to ask that people shut the drawers (gently, of course) when they are finished using the catalog? Also the card catalog seems to be a bit small and inconveniently placed for use. Finally, where are the golf pencils and scraps of paper? I’m getting a twitch looking at these illustrations.

libraries and how to use them

NLW-Libraries and how they work

Libraries and How to Use Them
Hardendorff
1979

Another library book about libraries. Although geared to kids, it is pretty text heavy and the illustrations are just okay. As much as I could appreciate some definitions of library jargon, this book probably has more depth in some pages than a library science textbook. All in all, it isn’t the worst, but it is woefully dated.

I also kept looking at the cover and thinking it was some kind of pattern, like a stained glass window. It took me a while to realize that the groovy cover really was a bunch of books on a shelf. In 1979, this book is decent but in 2021. Somebody should weed this and submit it as supplemental reading for an intro to library science course.

Check it out cover

National Library Week 2021-Check it Out!

Check It Out
The Book About Libraries”
Gibbons
1985

It’s time to let the kids know about how much fun it is at the library. This 1985 book is colorful does a nice job of library history and about the job of a librarian. Too bad this is about the library of the 1980s. Note the use of the card catalog and no computers. It’s a cute book, but it really needs an update.

the hospital scares me cover

Hospital Fears

The Hospital Scares Me
Hogan and Hogan
1980

In 1980, this would have been a decent choice for a picture book collection. Our protagonist, Dan, falls off the monkey bars and breaks an ankle. It is bad enough to require surgery and a hospital stay. The purpose is to explain to kids what happens in the hospital from check-in, x-rays, surgery, etc. We even have characters in the book who aren’t white! Dan gets around on crutches and heals up nicely. Cue the music.

where is daddy cover

Where is Daddy?

Where is Daddy?
The Story of a Divorce
Goff
1969

I will be honest in saying that these types of books (I will call them “fix your problems with a story”) are a bit problematic for me. Yes, I understand that many of these books have therapeutic value. However, they need to be updated and revised to reflect the changes in society. I also want these books to stand on their own as good stories, not just a vehicle to send a message.

danger book cover

Danger for Kids

Danger!
A Child’s book about handling fear, dangerous things, places, and situations
Wilt
1979

We have featured this author in the past, and I had not run across one of these in ages. She is nowhere near the weirdness of Doris, but all of hers could be weeded because they are just dated. Like Doris, these books are supposed to address children’s problems and fears. This time it is danger. (Too bad this book didn’t cover global pandemics.) She has also written on gender, money management, and health. (Be sure to see the page on Dad throwing up!) I know there are a lot of these books floating around.