A Sweet Children's Book for Winter
Let me tell you about this little book.
For Christmas this year, Maya received an adorable touch and feel book that was winter-themed. She loves this thing. She will follow Chad or I all over the house, waving it at us and squealing until we sit down to read it. She gets excited and turns the pages to the ones she likes best. She points, touches the various items, babbles along, and does all the little darling things babies do.
True to its name, this book is filled with fun pages boasting various textures to stimulate her growing and curious little brain.
The slippers are so soft and plushy!
The squirrel is so cute and has scruffy, scraggly hair (that's going to be pulled out by the end of the week)! Nibble nibble!
The rubber boots are so…waterproof looking! Splish splash!
There is a reindeer and the bell goes “ring-a-ding”! How adorable!
There’s this bird that seems to be on random pages. I don't know what the significance of this is, but oh well!
Then comes her favorite page. Of course this would be her favorite page. It’s bright, sparkly, and makes a terrific crackling sound when you run your finger over it. Who wouldn't love it? It’s literally the best page in the whole book!
Here it is!
Spot the problem? Give it a second.
It’s a picture of a stove…with a fire.
Let that sink in for a second.
Touch and feel FIRE.
Not to be silly, but why is this page here? Who approved this book? Let’s have babies reach out and touch fire. Chad and I were a tad confused.
Isn’t parenting hard enough without the necessity of reviewing books to ensure they don’t contain dangerous inspiration? Next up, a touch and feel knife! “OOOOOO, look, Maya! Shiny, sleek and silver! *slice slice* [your fingers off].”
Now, I'm positive there are several of you who at this point believe I'm overreacting. A couple of weeks ago, I was on your side. It’s a book. I understand the intent is not to encourage your child to touch fire, but rather to imply the fire radiates warmth on your skin and makes a pleasing crackling noise. Despite the loss of brain cells after child birth, I'm actually not a dumb dumb. But see, babies are sort of dumb. At this point, they can not comprehend the concept of feeling things (for example, appreciating the warmth of a fire) without physically reaching their grabby little hands out and touching them. Heck, I bet if she could, Maya would prefer to pick this fire up and put it straight into her slobbery mouth. Because that's what babies do. Not to mention, the point of the book is to literally touch pages with your hands and feel them. It's not an observe and appreciate implications book.
One day, I sent the book to my in-law’s house (as Maya couldn’t stand to be parted with it for 12 hours), and they remarked on how odd they thought it was. Finally, I was justified.
For a while, Chad and I started saying “We don’t touch fire” and other similar phrases each time we crossed the page. I would pull her hand away. "Ouchy! Too hot!" I had hoped she'd start to lose interest in the fire if I didn't let her touch it. But alas, she continued to skip directly to this page (or the squirrel, poor buddy). I would look on in dismay as her pointer finger made a bee-line for the flame. She'd rub the fire happily, look up at me with wide eyes and exclaim, "DAT?!"
She was obsessed. Then, just last week, she started trying to go behind the baby gate that blocks her off from the fire place. Sometimes, she just points to the fireplace (that isn't even on) and says, "DAT?!"
No. no fire for you, you little pyro.
I figured I should at least try to fix it. I labeled the page HOT over the word warm and added phrases like “Back up! And NO TOUCH!” I did a very professional job with some masking tape and a sharpie. Top notch work, really.
I'll probably have to just rip the page out. Thanks, Scholastic.
The hot chocolate page needed a little help too considering one of Maya's favorite activities is pointing at or reaching for my scalding beverage.
Also, what IS this bird about?
Please comment/share if there are books or toys you’ve come across that you find questionable in some way. Sharing is caring and I’m sure parents or caregivers everywhere would love to know what books to avoid because who has time to go around censoring/proofreading children’s books with masking tape?