Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Pig War by Betty Baker

I actually detest most children's books. They commonly fall into the trap where the author believes that since the audience is a young child, they aren't looking for literary value, but rather "fun" and simple words. "Fun" words include but are not limited to forced rhymes (including a word "rhyming" with itself), words that end in "-ie" or "-ey", excessive alliteration, repeating repeating repeating repeating words, or other verbal obnoxities.

What the author isn't taking into account is that at most ages, the kid isn't reading the book alone. And kids don't read a book once. They latch onto their favorite(s) and make the parent/older sibling/babysitter read it ad nauseam. Except kids are IMMUNE to nauseam. Little punks.

I should've accidentally destroyed this one book maliciously after little little brother got bored with it (after a period of about three years) before little sister became obsessed with it (for a period of about three years).

Sometimes, in the dead of night, the words still haunt me: "Chick with the bow and the bunny are looking as hard as can be/ for chick with the bow's baby sister!/ Oh where oh where could that chick be?"

I don't know. I. Just. Don't. Know.  (Okay, actually she's in the hayloft with the rooster.)

In the words of Gru from "Despicable Me": "You call this LITERATURE?"

But THIS. This book is something I wouldn't mind reading a few dozen times to the ferocious little beasts, I mean, lovely children.

"The Pig War" is a true historical account (though some liberties may have been taken with the characters; I'm not sure) of a territory dispute between Britain and America over some islands off the coast of Washington state. Yes, there really WAS a Pig War. The only casualty was a single pig. It's a great story, and it's told in simple enough (though not gag-inducing) language so that kids could follow along and/or read it for themselves.

Instead of exchanging gunfire, the combatants threw potatoes at each other. Then they realized they were fighting over trivialities and worked together to stay fed through the winter.

Scratch that. This book isn't for kids. This is for the WORLD. Someone put potatoes in the Defense budget. Everyone, make nice with your neighbors.

And that, folks, is all.

1 comment: