What is it with children's books that makes people feel they hold the answer to all of life's questions?
I'm thinking in particular of Go, Dog, Go! It seems there are people—have you met these people?—who think of it as a guide for LIFE. A sort of "everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten," but the sequel, which is "and actually, that was just one day in kindergarten when we read this one book."
I have grown fond of Go, Dog, Go! over the years, particularly since Diana had such an excellent time with it (she gasped when the page was turned and showed the big dog party). But as a guide for life? Not so much. Ditto Friendship Is Magic (not literature, I know).
I mean, I think I see what people are getting at, more or less: that what really matters is being good to one another, and being kind, etc. And I suppose people could do worse for a source document than Go, Dog, Go! or even My Little Pony.
But everything you know to lead a moral life? I am not so sure.
I feel there are a bunch of other books people do this to—do any of you remember what they are?
6 thoughts on “The Key to All Mythologies”
Well, there’s The Giving Tree. Which seems to me to be more of an anti-guide-to-life, as in Go Thou and Do Otherwise. but not everyone agrees with me.
A Hole is to Dig
The Velveteen Rabbit and the Little Prince are two others.
The Giving Tree was also the first one I thought of and Rainbow Fish — two books that really irritate me.
So what I’m thinking is, that it’s not necessarily so much that people feel that a particular children’s book holds the answer to all of life’s questions (in my experience, anyway), but that authors these days (or publishers) feel that children’s books SHOULD hold the answer to all of life’s questions. Which makes for not very good reading experiences, usually. Although having said that, I did once think it would be fun to write a little kids’ book about very naughty children that would make kids laugh, and which would serve as a counter to all the goody two shoes children’s books I was seeing … and then my babies got older and I decided I didn’t really need to give them any further ideas of things they could do that would annoy me or make extra work. So, I don’t know, maybe I should have actually gotten those awful moralistic books?
I never know. I used to be anti-Richard Scarry because of the please and thank you book and its moralizing tone (ditto Pig Will and Pig Won’t) but in the end, I wish I could instill lessons like that.