Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kids Book Review: Hurray for Today (Cat in the Hat Learning Library)

My kids like the Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That tv show; at least the episodes that are on Netflix. We have three of the Cat in the Hat Learning Library books, and we like them, too. They are cute and a good way to introduce topics for further learning.

Halloween is coming up and I've never really sat down with the kids and a calender and talked about holidays throughout the year. So when I saw "Hurray for Today" at the library, I thought "perfect!" and put it in the take-home bag. I am very glad, however, that I did look at it before I read it to the boys. And then I looked at it again, and I couldn't believe what was in this book.

I wrote a much longer review of this book, but it turned out to be longer than the actual book, and I thought people might think it was a big rant over a little thing. So I have condensed it to

8 Reasons Why This Is a Bad Book for Kids

(In the order they are found in the book)
  1. Instead of starting at the beginning of the year and going January to December, it starts at Winter Solstice. Confused? Because I was, and I am pretty sure kids would be, too.         
  2. It lumps Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza all together and gives the reason for these holidays as just excuses to "hang wreaths, light up candles, and string colored lights" to "make folks forget they'd see less of the sun." Really? I get not wanting to offend anyone, but they couldn't even make it about peace on Earth or remembering to be nice to other people or charity? It's just an excuse to have pretty lights when it's dark?                                                                    
  3. Valentine's Day, according to the book, is because a priest (religion not specified) "made sure that all lovers could be man and wife," so they made him the saint of all lovers. 
  4. "A long time ago,/every Irishman knows,/snakes crawled over Ireland/(or so legend goes)./A great Irish person,/who called himself Pat,/drove out all the snakes--/and, by gosh, that was that!" A) He was English, not Irish. B) He wasn't some "person" who just happened to be there. He was a Christan Bishop. He was there because he was a missionary. C) There were never any snakes in Ireland! Is this what kids should be learning? Three things that are completely untrue to keep from having to mention God or Christianity?
  5. "Easter fest." Not Easter, "Easter fest." A goddess called Eastre turned a dying bird into a bunny who could still lay eggs. He was so happy for his "new life" that he painted his eggs different colors.
  6. Out of 12 lines on Mother's Day, 6 of them are about worshiping Mother Earth and the mothering cake. That's half of the whole thing on Mother's Day! But it's still better than Father's Day, which doesn't even warrant a couplet. It gets a small "banner" at the bottom of the first day of summer page, in smaller print, saying "Don't Forget Father's Day." The exact format they use to inform us about National Poetry Month and Library Card Sign Up Month.
  7. "Poor Jack was a bad man/ who passed away, so/he went up to heaven. But God told him, GO!/The devil did, too, so/he just walked the night." This is where they chose to mention God?! As the mean guy who rejects "Poor Jack" from heaven?! Why avoid mentioned God for Christmas, St. Patric's Day, and Easter, but bring Him up on Halloween in such a negative light?
  8. Thanksgiving: no mention of Pilgrims. No mention of being thankful! Just "pray for peace and plenty/in all the world's lands." No mention, of course, to who or what it is we're praying too. And then the book's over; at the end of Thanksgiving, because they started before Christmas.


  1. Weird. But also hilarious, since the holidays are not actually about anything "anymore". But if the whole point of the book is to TEACH kids, then it did a pretty lousy job.


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