Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Kids Books: 1

In Books on December 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm

A Look Inside Some Thrift-Store Finds: Bookshelf Edition:


I really love this thrift-store find “MUD PIES AND OTHER RECIPES’ by MarjorieWinslow, illustrations by Erik Blegvad. This charming little book was published in 1961, and is ‘a cookbook for dolls.’ It is written for ‘kind climates and summertime’ and kids who actually play outdoors.. It includes recipes for Rainspout Tea and Dollypops: (pick a dandelion from the lawn carefully, so as not to disturb the fluff. Hand it to your doll and tell her to lick’)


This book brings such fond memories of a different time, when as children we spent practically the entire day outside, entrusted to ourselves and able to play very intricate and involved games of house and school, tell each other stories, make up games, improvise, share, argue, and resolve (without parents stepping in) We didn’t have ‘play-dates’ we just played. And, as very smart person once said “Play is the highest form of research”. 


It’s an adorable book, that touches the heart of anyone who remembers games of make-believe played outside with good friends, in all four seasons, incorporating all of nature’s offerings into our play and our lives. 



This is an interesting throw-back, full of television watching rules (don’t wear sunglasses when you watch tv) and although much of what they present is true, you can’t help but think that television was like an avalanche, one that would not -could not- be stopped. Nowadays we walk around with tv on our phones, and it’s hard to find a person in public that isn’t looking down at them! Or who isn’t constantly occupied and/or distracted by them. It’s almost as if ‘they knew!’ (the authors)


This book lays all the television rules out for kids and then warns about the dangers:


TV might tempt a child into creating a bomb, or worse (imagine what the authors think of the Internet!)


…and not only might the child get into mischief, but he will be flagrant and defiant about it!! The child in this picture has not only gotten his hands on a stick of dynamite, but has also sought out warning signs against what he is about to do and parked himself in front of them like the flagrant little anarchist he is. Not to mention that his location an outright taunting of Smokey The Bear!


Television can also lure children into biker gangs. I know this is true because every time I watch  ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ I have an urge to ‘take a ride’ with Jax Teller, and I have no doubt that I would if the situation presented itself. Ahem!


I think this is the best page in the book. Relevant to how we live now, and the place that Entertainment (TV, Internet, Social Media, etc) has in our lives. Some might say we’ve gained a lot- while others lament that we’ve lost a lot. But either way- it’s obvious- you can’t un-ring a bell.



I was surprised to see that this book is only eight years old. I figured it to be from nineteen-seventy something. Anyway- it’s all about race relations. Evidently, Goliath is a closet racist, and has been one all along. It’s quite jarring:


and then he goes all Archie Bunker on the visiting dog!!


But Davey’s got his hands full with his good friend’s cousin, Scottie:


You have to wonder just how racist this Scottie is, if his reputation precedes him this blatantly! (If only this were published in the seventies! It would have made a great After School Special: “Scottie: The Boy Who Hates White Kids’) Anyway- Davey rushes over to hang with the kid who hates him (who could resist?) only to discover a twist in the days plans:



Turns out, Scottie has had a little accident (I suspect he’d been watching tv and was under the influence of it: see ‘A Kid’s Guide to TV’, above )…..one that has rendered him blind for the week (that’s one precise diagnosis!) and therefore, ripe for Davey’s psychological experiment. 


Luckily, we’re now privy to Scottie’s completely valid and rational reason for being a racist:


Davey and Scottie have quite the day together- sharing hot dogs, hanging out in the hood (I think?) and bonding:


A somewhat creepy conversation about Davey’s sister commences……leaving me with a hefty dose of that ‘Wait.What?’ feeling…


Finally, the day the bandages come off arrives. Davey, of course, is front and center for the unveiling. (I know I always brought my friends to my doctor’s appointments as a young child.) And much like George Jefferson meeting Jenny’s parents for the first time, our Mr. Scottie is less than pleased:


Just when it seems that Davey will expire from the sadness he feels about Scottie rejecting him, Goliath confesses that he’s no longer racist, and will now be hanging out with the white spotted dog. And for reasons very unclear (Pssst! I think I know the secret: the book is near the end) Scottie ‘Jefferson-Bunker’ has decided to open his mind and befriend other races.  The End. Someone cue the music. (May I suggest Aerosmith/Run DMC’s ‘Walk This Way’ perhaps?)


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