8.28.2011

Book Review of the Day

For a kid's book called Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes:
I want to love this book. The pictures are adorable, the babies are multi-cultural, the text flows beautifully, and the message about babies being basically the same wherever they are born is important. But I can't love this book, because apparently "everyone" is not aware that limb abnormalities occur in 2.6 out of 10,000 births in the U.S. In a nation of 300 million, that adds up to plenty of people, myself included. When the hook of this text is that "everyone knows" that "ALL of these babies" are born with 10 fingers and 10 toes, a refrain used repeatedly, that is not a book I want to share with my 4-yr-old. I don't want to confuse him, because HE knows someone without 10 fingers, and this book will give the impression that I am the only one in the entire world for whom that is true.

I feel similarly about books that teach kids that "we ALL" see with our eyes and hear with our ears. No, not ALL of us do. I wish the authors could have found something else that all of these babies had in common, because "everyone knows" that it's difficult enough to teach kids about the differences in people without books like this making those differences seem even more strange and abnormal.
How dare this author make generalizations in a children's book! I think we should also throw out books that call the sky blue, because sometimes the sky is gray, and books that mention pets, because some kids are allergic to pets.

The reviewer wishes the author could have "found something else that all of these babies have in common." Never gonna happen, if we are going to be so strict about including people with rare abnormalities in literature for toddlers. I challenge anyone to name something each of the characters in the book might have in common that some kid, somewhere, does not differ from.

3 comments:

Tina said...

That is so true. Thanks to conditions such as Imperforate anus, you can't even correctly assert that "Everyone Poops!"

My apologies to anyone without an anus whom I may have just offended.

aggierudy3 said...

The librarian read that book for story time a few weeks ago. I kinda waited for the punchline, "Except for those that don't," but it wasn't there. I momentarily thought that would have been nice to add, but it didn't bother me greatly. The message that the vast majority of us have something in common is more important than always having to be absolutely inclusive. We can't avoid "normal" just because not everyone is, which also goes for adoption, married parents, and a host of other children's book topics.

MacKenzie said...

I agree, 10 fingers and 10 toes is normal, there is just no getting around it.

Of course, if it were me or my kid that didn't have those fingers or toes, I don't think I would buy or read this book but I do think her statement about finding something else in common is a bit silly. There isn't much unless you want to move to internal organs (all of these babies have hearts and livers!), which is probably a bit much for the under 3 crowd.