Archive for the ‘Friday Fail’ Category

We are currently in the middle of a Beethoven unit in our homeschool.  There are quite a few books that I found that have enhanced our studies.  But one in particular was a flop. I don’t even have a picture.

The Value of Giving:  The Story of Beethoven is just such a bizarre story I’m not sure where to begin.  It’s from a series of “ValueTales” by Ann Donegan Johnson. The illustrations are on the creepy side, very comical faces, which can be fine, these just seem more like the Sunday Comics.  The story is about Beethoven’s childhood and growing up with a drunk, sometimes abusive father.  Ludwig makes up an imaginary cat as a friend and stumbles through life being teased by others and just trying to write the music he heard in his head.

It could be a decent story.  But somehow he became the go-to person in history to teach kids about giving????  I’m at a loss.

Here’s the quote from the last page of the book:

“Of course not everyone can give the world great music, as Beethoven did.  But sooner or later, everyone has the opportunity to give something to make someone else happier.  Your gifts may be very simple, but if they make someone else happy, you will probably be happier too.”

Oh, I get it now.

Up next:  books about Beethoven that are worth reading.

Read Full Post »

Oops!  I mislabeled the scheduling of this post so it failed to get published yesterday.  Sorry!


A book that is labeled “noisy pop-up fun” or “with fun vehicle sounds,” you can be sure is going to get on my flop list.  I have found that there are just some toys and books for kids that either are never tested on real children, or my children are all just freaks of nature that don’t fit the “norm”….whatever that is!  Sometimes the idea is cool, but the implementation or mechanism in the item is just so off that it makes the item completely useless, and ends up at the bottom of the toy box or shoved in the back of the shelves and very rarely enjoyed.


So my vote for this week’s Friday Fail is Snappy Sounds:  Vroom. That’s right, folks, not only do you need batteries for every little toddler toy found in stores today, you now need batteries for your toddler’s books!

This book is labeled for 3 and up.  There’s a reason for that…the toddlers who would enjoy the annoying sounds and cutesy pictures, will immediately rip apart the 3-D pop-ups that pop out at them as you turn each page.  So the kid has to be old enough to know not to grab at the pop-up.  But the catch is by then, they also will be too old to enjoy this book at all, because it literally has 4 pages, that you can read with ear piercing sirens and horns wailing at you the entire time you are opened to that page.  Now, I’ll grant that there may be some kids that would be suited for this kind of book.  IF your small toddler is not the kind to grab at things anymore, then maybe you could get through all 4 pages with them intact.  But all it takes is one little grab and the bunny’s head is ripped off.  And yes, I do know this from experience.  IF you enjoy reading to your kid with very loud background sounds as if you’re in the middle of a traffic jam, then this book is for you.  IF you have an older child who will no longer grab the pop-outs but would sit and look at this book on his own because he is obsessed with transportation noises, then this book is for you. IF you enjoy buying batteries for books, then this book is for you…and I notice that there are others in this series.


Otherwise, don’t bother.

Read Full Post »


Friday Fail entries will be reserved for children’s books that just don’t hit the mark.  These are books that you read through and wonder why you bothered.  They may have lousy plot, uninspiring illustrations, or zero climax.  Or they are books that one might feel is completely contrary to whatever values you might be trying to instill in your children.  Of course I don’t believe every book should be trying to teach a moral lesson, but books shouldn’t be unraveling the lessons you hold dear in your home. Then there are the truly bizarre books.  Make you raise your eyebrows…huh?…did I just read that to a kid?  Oy.

I seem to have read quite a few of these books in the last few years.  We’ve owned quite a few of them.  But as I’m perusing our shelves I’m not finding many of them.  I’m hoping it’s because we’ve gotten rid of them!  But I came across this one that I’m just not quite sure what to do with.

H.A. Rey has a (for the most part) wonderful, classic, series about everyone’s favorite monkey, Curious George.  He’s cute, he’s lovable, he gets into all sorts of silly situations and always comes out everyone’s new best friend.  His friend, the man in the yellow hat always shows incredible patience and understanding of his curious little monkey.  These books are a favorite of many children, and they are quite timeless.


Then there’s this one…

Curious George Takes a Job

Now, don’t hate me, but this book just needs a little warning on the front:  “Note to parents:  This book shows a cute lovable monkey, getting high on ether.”

Just so you are warned.  Apparently in 1947 when this book was written, Ether was laying around in hospital rooms of children.  So little George goes through plenty of typically silly antics and lands himself in the hospital.  When the nurse isn’t looking he chugs a good bit of the stuff…starts to feel dizzy…then happy and felt as if he were flying…wheee!  He finally passes out and has to be woken up in the shower.

Ok, so I’m not going to say it has to be a banned book, certainly not, but just be warned.  Cute little monkey antics and chugging ether may not be on your list of qualities you want mixed in a children’s book.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: