Picture Books...Not For Toddlers?

So yesterday we tromped out to the library as an option for getting out of the house but not being out in the insane heat. Plus, the doodle was insistent that his old library books were old and he needed new ones. As we'd read that batch somewhere in the zillion times range, I was on board with this.

Once there, we stopped to say hi to the turtle and then meandered to the picture book section. I usually have him pick out a few picture books and then a few from the easy reader section, and we tend to go in that order. So, scooting down the picture book shelf on his way to the big block of beads and other activities, he stopped and grinned, grabbing a book off the shelf that had a huge pig on the cover.

"Pig!" he shouted, then switched to whispering, "Quiet at the library." Big grin, "We read pigs?"

"Sure. Pigs it is." I glanced at the book and tucked it into our bag, then noticed the same author had several other books about pigs and pointed this out to the doodle who was enthralled. He proceeded to grab another pig book and then one about moles, by the same author. (That's a mole, the animal, not the possibly cancerous skin feature, btw.)

When we got home, he dragged the bag of 9 books over to the couch, settled in and patted the cushion next to him, "Read my library books please?"

And so we started, but it was nap time and he quickly fell out, so we determined we could continue today.

And today we began again with Those Can-Do Pigs (Picture Books) and proceeded to Pig Pig and the Magic Photo Album: 2 and then on to Mole Music, all by David McPhail.

And I was appalled.

On the whole, they're cute books about pigs and moles - and really, what little boy doesn't love that? But in each one, the author goes out of his way to talk about how war is bad and we should all just love each other and get along. Now, it's not that I'm raising a little warmonger, but honestly, this has no place in a PICTURE book. Picture books are for kids who are still, at their very core, innocent. Must we really pollute their minds with this crap at age 2?

Honestly, if it was "Those Can-Do Pigs Escape the Holocaust" then ok, I might have had a clue and not gotten the book, but it's about how the can do pigs fix things, and clean the house, and try - and oh yeah, hate war. And the mole just wants to learn to play the violin and then imagines how nice it would be if others could hear his music but he just keeps on sawing away, getting better and better, while unbeknownst to him, his music is audible above ground. And oh yeah, it stops armies in their tracks. But WHY? Why do the armies even have to be there? Again, if it was "Mole Fiddles While Rome Burns" I would have steered away.

I just don't think it has a place in a picture book for toddlers. Yes. War is real. War is an issue that you need to discuss with your kids - even the military families whose parents deploy steer away from the whole war thing in their explanations to kids this age. And really, shouldn't we, as parents, be about preserving innocence as long as we possibly can?


Rachel said...

I found a most awesome picture book the other day. It's called beware of the frog! If you see it, you should read it!

CoffeeShopBloggers said...

I wanted to share my Favorite Picture Books You've Never Heard Of. I hope your doodle likes them and most, if not all, are not about war ...


Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World

I blog on children's lit, parenting and education