Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Not the Stork: A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends

Written by: Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley

First line: Look! A hippo family!

Why you should read this book: It a fairly extensive book about bodies, sexuality, growing up, and human interaction for very young readers: the cover says "4 and up" but it's written at a level most appropriate for reading out loud to those who can't read to themselves. Although the author does not touch on trans issues in the discussion of gender, the idea of gay parents is briefly normalized in the text, as is masturbation, and the overall subject matter covers the type of questions that little kids just starting to wonder about being human might ask. The illustrations are adorable, although I found the comic addition of a bird and a bee commenting on the text a little fluffy and distracting; overall, this is a pretty good introduction, best read a little at a time to kids who are just starting to make sense of the world.

Why you shouldn't read this book: For some unknowable reason, you believe it's not healthy for children to understand anything about their bodies.

Green Pants

Written by: Kenneth Kraegel.

First line: Jameson only ever wore green pants.

Why you should read this book: Like many young children Jameson's peculiar insistence on a particular lifestyle choice—in this case, only wearing green pants—is amusing and tolerable to adults, until the day the world can no longer accommodate his eccentricity. When Jameson's cousin decides to marry the most beautiful girl Jameson can imagine, he's thrilled at her request to participate in the wedding, with on hitch: he'll have to wear a black tuxedo. After a crisis of monumental proportions, Jameson finds a way to stay true to himself while conforming to society's standards.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're in the process of shaming a young child out of any personality quirks that might differentiate them from other humans.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Last Look

Written by: Charles Burns

First line: This is the only part I'll remember.

Why you should read this book: The X'ed Out trilogy is collected here in one volume, which is good news for readers, because I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been to read this story in pieces without its conclusion. It's the kind of book where you're trying to piece the story together right up until the last couple pages, when all the threads comes together, and then you have to start again at the beginning so you can read it and understand it at the same time. Our protagonist, Doug, seems trapped in his relationships in the real world even as he bounces over and over again back to a hallucinatory nightmare landscape that mirrors his deepest fears with cunning distortion.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You can pinpoint the exact moment in your life when everything went wrong and you can't stop reliving it. 

Kill My Mother

Written by: Jules Feiffer

First line: And now for your listening pleasure—Miss Ginger Rogers singe her new hit from her new musical, "The Gold Diggers!"

Why you should read this book: Cartooning legend Jules Feiffer showcases his slapdash drawing style and his in-depth knowledge of human nature in this hard-boiled graphic novel, a murder mystery that twists and turns and romps through history until it reaches its beautiful, satisfying, unexpected conclusion. The lives of five determined women intersect in surprising ways, driven by lies, secrets, betrayals, family, and love. A joyous, funny, deep, and intelligent drama that reminds the reader what human beings are really like, on the surface and behind their veils.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You can't stomach too much murder.