02 03 Notes from the School Psychologist: Horrible Books for Children 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Horrible Books for Children

Sometimes, I have poignant posts about school psychology that are woven into a delightful tale from working with a student. Other times, you get my ramblings about random stuff that occurs to me and happens to be loosely related to school psychology. This is one of those posts. What can I say, I’m still adjusting to being back at school and I need some time to dust off the thoughtful reflection part of my brain.

My mom was a teacher for 30 million years and just retired. She has about 300 million books she doesn’t know what to do with. Oh wait, yes she does—send them to her granddaughter, Toddler B! We have the world’s most extensive library and the good news is that Toddler B can’t get enough of shared book reading. She is practically exhibiting Kindergarten common core standards for retelling. Brings a tear to my eye. My baby is growing up so fast. Sniffle. 

The only problem is that some of the beloved books I remember from my childhood actually suck. I usually realize it about half way through reading out loud to my girl.

Take Little Red Riding Hood, for example. I remembered it was a cute little tale of a girl who takes goodies to her grandma and outsmarts a wolf. What actually happens:

Me: So little red riding hood and her grandmother got eaten up…um…by the wolf and..erm..the hunter…[reads silently: CUTS OPEN THE WOLF AND RED RIDING HOOD AND GRANDMA COME TUMBLING OUT]

Me: the hunter…um, The End! Pass me Curious George!

Or when I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I remembered it as a cute little tale of a boy’s nice relationship with nature. Turns out, the kid is a greedy little taker and takes everything from the poor tree until it is a sad, sad stump and dies. Neat. Nice message.

The worst so far is the poem Waltzing Matilda. I remember it as a jaunty little poem about an Australian bushman doing…um…I don’t really know. Perhaps waltzing. But no, it is a charming tale of an Australian bushman stealing sheep and then KILLING HIMSELF AND HAUNTING PEOPLE. Well that’s a nice one for right before bed, isn’t it?*

Looks like a fun and jaunty little tale, right?
Note to self: preview all children’s books before my daughter turns into a wolf-slaying, greedy, nature-hating, sheep stealer with suicidal ideation. Or, should I just realize that I read twisted books as a kid and turned out to be a pretty darn snazzy individual? Even though I use the word “snazzy” to describe myself, I think you get my point.  I just can’t help but analyze children’s literature themes when reading to my child. It’s a sickness. I might just have to have a psychological debriefing after the sketchy ones. Or stick those guys in the garage. Haven’t decided yet.

At least I warned you this post was going nowhere. You’re welcome.

* And don’t even get me started on the pre-teaching of vocabulary I had to do to enhance comprehension in this one. Jumbuck? Billabong? Swagman? I should have given up on this poem from the start.  


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