1. Meghan says...

    This makes me laugh! My husband and I just parted with our Pinocchio book because of this. It mentioned “pleasure island” and little boys were being kidnapped. Immediately, after I heard my husband reading it to our son, we shared a wide-eyed look, NOPE. Some classics are meant to be ignored. It was not a piece that I ever wanted to repeat or have my children pick up. It’s interesting how words, pictures, and plots can leave us feeling, even after a 5 minute read.

  2. Maiz says...

    This comic is priceless. I remember having that “Oh, no…” thought a few times, like when I suddenly realized I was introducing my two year old to the concept of a monster under the bed! Also, having to constantly swap the pronouns on the fly to try to reduce so much early exposure to gender stereotypes.

  3. T says...

    Joanna, I think you’d get value out of “the underwater fancy dress parade” by Davina Bell and Aussie illustrator powerhouse Allison Colpoys. It’s a story about a fancy dress parade, the little boy in it is very shy and (spoiler alert) although he really wants to be brave and join in, can’t muster the courage, and that’s ok, he will try again another time. For me, so often I’m frustrated when books end in triumph, this one seems valuable for the kids that need a few more tries to muster courage.

  4. Bernie says...

    I can’t stand Eloise! I know it’s supposed to be funny and cute but she is just so, so naughty and rude!

  5. Laura says...

    Ahh Green Eggs and Ham. When I’m reading it with my daughter I feel like saying NO means NO Sam I Am! Seriously, there’s a lot of pressure and coercion in this book. No, I will not fucking. eat green eggs and ham with a goat or on a boat, Sam. Thanks but no thanks.

  6. A says...

    Green Eggs and Ham just taught my two year old to say “NOT” very emphatically about anything he does NOT want to do. Now, when I ask him if he wants rice with his dinner, for example, he will say “NOT RICE” with a huge grin….

  7. Jennifer says...

    We learned that Amelia Earhart version of “Little People, Big Dreams” is similarly depressing. The last page reads something along the lines of, “So she set off to fly around the world…never to return again. If you want to do something, do it. You never know how far you’ll get.” Womp womp womp…

    • Helena K says...

      Haha, same! My 3,5 year old freaked out when I read that part. Not to mention all the questions I had to answer just when I was about to leave his room.

  8. Laura says...

    What’s the problem with the gingerbread man? Isn’t the lesson about getting tricked?
    And green eggs and ham? Is that bc it encourages pickiness in kids?

    • Grace Farris says...

      Nothing truly wrong w them! I just end up chasing two gingerbread men quite a lot, and Dr Seuss turns me into a zombie :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes they’re just those stories you don’t like as a parent in part bc they’re boring or a pain. as alex once said, “the very hungry caterpillar is tough sledding.”

  9. Elisabeth says...

    Can we add The Giving Tree? That boy MURDERS that tree, and she’s chill with it? I mean, I get the metaphor and I’d give my son everything I have, too, but there are such things as healthy boundaries!

    • omg. yes! My mother-in-law made sure to give us my husband’s old copy of “his favorite book”, so now we have two copies, and it is the single most depressing book because I feel like I am that tree. I mean, I love my kiddo. but come on!!!

      I’m also super creeped out by the “Love You Forever” book about the mom creeping into her adult son’s bedroom at night and rocking him to sleep, and him being okay with it.

      Healthy boundaries!!

    • Melanie says...

      Ashley I used to have similar thoughts about Love You Forever – I recently found out that the author had two stillborn children, so it is almost an imagining of a life with them, which changed my thoughts.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, melanie, that is so enlightening and heartbreaking. thank you for sharing.

  10. Kate says...

    Babar was a favorite, but looking back I can see now that the story is terribly sad and tragic (Bambi, but with big game hunting and elephants!) and basically all about colonization and “taming the savages.” Ick.

  11. Jamie says...

    Trying to raise a feminist after I caught him saying questionable things about girls in his class (and he’s 4!!) I bought the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book. We would pick one story out of it to read together each time I put him to bed and we talked about all the great things Women have done (I’m a career woman myself). All was great until he picked Amelia Earhart… and we all know how that story ends. Problem is, I travel (almost) every single week work. Monday to Thursday… so I had a lot of explaining to do… #momfail. We haven’t picked up the book since. : /

    Separately, I’m HORRIFIED at some children’s books out there as many have noted above. Some are so out of touch with the 21st century. Trying to find *good* and original Spanish books to read is also an uphill battle.

    Ps. Jo, LOVE the community you’ve built here. I don’t write often (or really at all) but I love your posts and I love reading everyone’s comments here as well. The. Best. Community. Love to all.

    • Mariah Lafleur says...

      We are a Spanish speaking household also and agree that can be hard to find books with great stories in Spanish, many of the best/latest/greatest tend to be only in English. A few we’ve loved that I’d recommend checking out (not all original in Spanish, some translated from successful English versions) – Ultima Parada de la Calle Market, Biblioburro, El Dia en Que Discubres Quien Eres, Lola, Marisol McDonald series, Frida Kahlo y sus Animalitos, Si Se Puede. Would be happy to hear your best suggestions/finds en español!

      And 100% agree, love this community – the only blog I read every day (including the fabulous comments section).

    • Jamie says...

      Mariah, Gracias! Biblioburro is definitely a favorite. We have also found some translations to be pretty good. One original that we like (because he likes “Where the Sidewalk Ends”) is “Poemas con Sol y Son” which is a compilation of children’s poetry from Latin America. We received it as a gift, so not sure about availability.

      For the really little ones out there, “El Pollo Pepe” was a sweet and favorite pop up book since he was a few months old. I also recommend that one if you took Spanish in school and want to give it a try, it’s an easy read :)

      Very much open and would look forward to other suggestions!
      xoxo Jamie

  12. Amanda says...

    I had this thought reading A Visitor for Bear. The bear is very clear that he does not want the mouse in his house but the mouse keeps breaking into his house. And of course, it ends with the bear realizing he likes this mouse that doesn’t take no for an answer. At least it did give us another opportunity to talk about consent and “no, means no.”

  13. Jill says...

    Can we just agree that times have changed and we don’t have to bundle everything from the past into neat little piles of atrocities foisted upon helpless (not) cultures. My god. Times have changed. For the better mostly! Story telling, thank goodness, has evolved. Let’s not bash what once was. Good people grew up on these various stories and didn’t read garbage into them. They were simply stories. Curious George wasn’t about slavery, paternalism, over-policing, or involuntary immigration (whatever that is). It was a silly and unrealistic story about a mischievous monkey. Nothing more.

    • T says...

      I don’t know curious George specifically. But in the sentiment of “who cares, live and let live”, my 2c is: They might have been popular then, but these stories do matter. They are the tiny seeds that get watered and grow into unhelpful cultures. Given how many new books are released by new, forward thinking authors and illustrators why not support those instead?

  14. Stephanie says...

    Yes! The popularity of Curious George totally baffles me! “Here we see George do all the things the man in the yellow hat tells him not to do. He wreaks total havoc on the town. But don’t worry, kids. It all works out and George is the best!” Haha!

  15. Jessica says...

    What really got me about Curious George wasn’t that he’s curious, it was that it’s a cute, animal-ized story about slavery, paternalism and over-policing. He gets trapped, gets told he’ll “really like it” in a place he can’t escape, is thrown in jail for “making trouble” by calling the fire department (because he didn’t know how our phone systems worked – like any involuntary immigrant). And it’s all dressed up as cute because he’s a little monkey and “monkeys” just can’t help but be bad – which is a whole other thing to unpack. Curious George is The. Worst.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg YES! have you read the very first one? it’s horrifying!

    • Stephanie says...

      Oh my gosh I’d totally forgotten about the original story when I commented earlier. I was appalled when we first read that one and promptly parted ways with our copy. Yikes!

    • Kathryn says...

      100% agree! I have slowly been “losing” the Curious George books we have been getting. The new ones ar just as bad for so many other reasons!

    • Sara says...

      My kids are *obsessed* with Curious George! I always ask him whether George is naughty or maybe “just a little bit curious”! They always think it’s funny :)

    • Sara says...

      My husband picked up the original at the library the other day. It is a little horrifying! I skip through several parts, to be honest! :)

  16. Denise says...

    HAH! So true! I have vague childhood memories that I used to love Paul Bunyan & Blue, but then I re-read Paul Bunyan – terrible ethos for today!