What We’ve Been Reading Wednesday–The Black Book of Colors, Amos McGee and Eating to Survive

This week, a lot of library holds came up for Dora. At first, she wasn’t too interested in reading them. Then all of a sudden, tonight, she wanted to read all of them over and over. The first book that stood out to me was The Black Book of Colors. The title sounds like an oxymoron, but the book is actually about how colors feel, sound, taste, and smell – not about how they look. The book is written in traditional English type, but at the top of each page, the text is also given in braille. Then on the facing page, each illustration is done in black vinyl on black paper. The illustrations can be seen, if you turn the page just so, but more importantly, the pages can be felt. I wish I had found this book when we were studying the five senses, but as is, it opened up a wonderful dialogue between Dora and I about blindness and other disabilities.

Another read that we really enjoyed was A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which is an endearing book about how the best way of showing your friendship will vary from friend to friend, but in the end, however, being there for each other is what matters most.

The next three books we read were all about animals eating other animals. I’m going to start with my least favorite book first, just because I want to make sure other parents know how this book ends before they read it to their child (meaning BIG SPOILER ALERT). This book has been very well-reviewed, though I am certainly not the first to question its message. I checked out I Want My Hat Back based on all the hype and wish I had previewed it before reading it to Dora. I will start off by saying that I very well understand that animals do eat animals in nature and this is not something that we keep secret from Dora. This book starts off very cutely with a Bear looking for his hat (my first issue with this book is that I thought the bear was a beaver, which made the ending a bit confusing for me). The bear asks animal, after animal, if they have seen his hat. When he questions the rabbit, the rabbit is actually wearing the hat and clearly lies about the fact that he has stolen it. It is funny that the bear is so gentle that he just accepts the rabbit’s story. In the end, however, the bear figures out the truth. It is what he does afterwards that disturbs me – he eats the rabbit. It is written in such a manner that it is supposed to be funny, but I just can’t find humor in the fact that the bear killed/ate the rabbit just because the rabbit took the bear’s hat. Had the bear eaten the rabbit in a natural act of survival, I would have no problem with it. In the context of this book, however, the author seems to suggest that if anyone does anything bad to you, you seek revenge and show no mercy. You can also imagine why I was a bit confused when I originally thought the bear was a beaver, as a beaver eating a rabbit is just weird. I had to read the book jacket to learn that the character was a bear and I still think he looks more like a beaver or a groundhog….

On the other hand, Feathers for Lunch, illustrates the natural hunting cycle, while allowing the birds to go free, because the cat’s owner has belled the cat. Thus, the cat only gets feathers for lunch. What I really like about this book is that it labels each bird and plant on each two-page spread. We’ve been doing a lot of bird watching with our two new bird feeders and several of the birds in this book were ones we have seen.

Finally, Bark, George is just a silly book about a puppy who actually swallows animals, rather than eating them. The ending of this book, combined with the mother dog’s facial expressions, were what put this book on my “it’s a keeper” list (not that I’ll literally keep the library book, mind you).

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Labels: Literature
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff