Monday, September 09, 2019

Bad Book Day

We regularly get hand-me-downs through the ad hoc donation pipelines that magically spring up when you have a child. While this works wonderfully for clothes (I'm pretty sure we've never bought Maia a new outfit ever), it's less effective for books. The books that get donated by our friends tend to be the worst of the worst, like Rebecca's favourite about a pig that practices surfing on a surfboard on the beach and then magically surfs in the ocean and goes home satisfied.

One of the worst offenders in my opinion is the "first reader" series for Pete the Cat. There are more of these books than there are Family Circus paperbacks and they possess comparable literary qualities. Take, for example, Pete the Cat and the Surprise Teacher.

There are major spoilers ahead.

Pete's mom subs his class and spends the entire day taking them to the wrong classrooms. At the end of the day, they thank her with a giant sign covered in construction paper cat heads. So essentially, an awesome day in Pete's mind is the day he discovers that his mom is a literal moron.

Why would the school system hire someone who can't tell the difference between the playground and the cafeteria? Perhaps the titular "suprise" is that Pete's mom was able to get her teaching license in the first place without knowing how to read. Or maybe receiving the thank you sign is supposed to be more of a Godfather callback and the students are subtly telling her to get a new vocation using decapitated cat heads in a threatening way.

The worst of the worst (so far) is Pete the Cat Play Ball!, a book that can't even get the grammar in its title correct.

This book consists of over 30 pages of Pete playing a baseball game and doing absolutely everything possible except successfully hitting the ball. His team wins in the end, thanks to teammates that aren't content with mediocrity. There are two takeaway life lessons in this book: (1) associate with more successful coworkers to share in their glory without lifting a finger and (2) baseball is boring.

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