Ah yes, it's time for another We Recommend, in which we use what we once thought was our own particular choosing-the-perfect-book-for-someone superpower to help select books for those in need. Need a recommendation? E-mail us, and we'll be happy to take a swing at it (and then let the commenters actually choose something excellent).
I got this e-mail recently, and somehow ended up writing back that we would get on it right away, so here we go. A mom who is reading a few too many Berenstain Bear Books has been pushed to the very brink of human reason. As we see here:
I have a 6 years-and-3-months old girl who is not
yet reading on her own. … She
loves – LOVES – the Berenstain Bears books, which I abhor with the fury
of a thousand suns. She also loves Clifford and Froggy and – blech to
all these canned character books with the exact same plot in each one
and gender stereotyping and bad writing!Anyway,
she also loves Oliver and Amanda Pig, who I don't hate, and she likes
Frog and Toad sometimes. She likes non-fiction books – polar bears,
penguins, dinosaurs, space travel – and she is still enjoying picture
books with a semi-evolved story. We had one out of the library this
week about the Library Mouse that she liked. She loves Ladybug
magazines, especially the cartoons…. She is
very sensitive. …She cannot handle sad or scary movies/tv, and while her tolerance for
those topics in books is a little higher, it's still not high.
sick of what we've been reading for so long now…I can't wait to hear what you and your commenters come up with!
We have thought and thought. We have discussed the Cobble Street Cousins, Meg and Mog, Poppleton, and George and Martha—all supremely worthy options that we sort of can't recommend highly enough. But then Diana, who is seeming extremely elderly to me lately, with pop culture references and a general aura of teenager-hood, said "What was that nice series I really liked when I was little? I really loved it? Do you remember? Oh that's right, Little Bear!
Yes, before the television show, before the swirl of movie thrill, before a whole lot of things, there was this series. Such a sweet and excellent series of books! They're so very old fashioned, so strange and slow and dear. I can't promise that they will banish those other bears, whose deep and mysterious pull is very, very real, but these books will be loved. I am all but sure about this.
But we all know who she really wants to hear from: the rest of you. Someone, help this woman!