I was talking with my kid about books she remembers from kindergarten.
The first one is Brush.
The teacher who read it to them in class really, really liked it.
It has a shiny cover, and product tie-ins, and a *lesson.*
The Rainbow Fish has special shiny scales, and the other fish don't like him, because he's all icky and different and has special scales.
So then he gives away his scales to the other fish, until everyone has just one scale and they are all alike and happy and friends now.
Just what little kids need, lessons in conformity.
Oh, and they like being preached at too.
She came home ranting.
Hated it, hated it, hated it.
"Why is it his fault that that's what his scales are like; isn't that just the kind of fish he is?"
"Why do they have to all be alike before they can like him?"
The other book we found on Reading Rainbow (great show!).
A little boy can't have a puppy, so he befriends an old brush, putting it on a leash and treating it like a pet.
His parents worry.
Then the brush defends the family when burglars break in.
Kid gets to keep his strange pet.
It has the weird energy kids playing can get.
They never read this one at kindergarten, but she's still got a copy.
So I went to pick up some images from Amazon.
Lots of praise for Rainbow Fish.
"…being proud of outside beauty can blind a fish, or a child…to the beauty people hold inside….
It's a useful one for future sneaker and designer clothing shoppers, for rainbow fish — and for quieter, plainer minnows, too."
Well, that seems like a stretch to me, but okay….
But the review for Brush is really weird.
"It's quite a let-down. Despite the child's vivfiying act of imagination, he is still rewarded with nothing more than an old brush; it's just not the equivalent of a lively puppy."
Excuse me, School Library Journal reviewer idiot, but we are in fantasy land where the brush is a living and beloved pet.
I like a lively puppy as much as the next person, but the kid is not complaining.
Is it just that they can't stand leaving the character embedded in his imagination?