Generally, I can find something that appeals to me in picture books. For example, if I don’t particularly enjoy the story, then the art work usually is beautiful. Last week, though, my dd picked up Young Larry by Daniel Pinkwater, and I read a few pages and refused to read more.
This book is about a young polar bear cub that enjoys eating muffins. After his mother kicks him out and he is alone he accidentally drifts away on an ice slab and finds himself in New Jersey. Larry must then figure out what he will do to earn enough money for tasty muffins. The story line is amusing and the illustrations are so-so, but it is the manner with which the story opens that I do not agree with. I certainly understand that polar bears are not cuddly and that life in the wild can be harsh at times, but this is a children’s book and these facts can be presented in a better way, imo.
Snippets from the beginning of the story:
“Some day, when we are big polar bears, maybe we can hunt with our father, ” Larry said.
“I doubt it,” their mother said. “He would probably give you a hit on the head, and tell you to get lost.”
“One day, I will give you a hit in the head myself, ” their mother said. “And send you off to take care of yourselves.”
“Wow. That is harsh,” Larry and Roy said.
“It is Nature’s way,” Larry and Roy’s mother said.
“Well, I don’t like it,” Larry said.
“Nobody is asking you to like it. You are bears. Get used to it.”
“Those are humans,” Larry and Roy’s mother said. It is OK to eat them, but they taste funny.”
“Maybe I will eat one some time,” Roy said.