As planned, after sleeping in until “parent noon,” otherwise known as 8 am, I journeyed to the local bookstore to get me some literary crack.

When I arrived with 8-year-old Tigger and 4-year-old Little Bit in tow, I found the store peppered with tables, each holding small stacks of the spookily green volume. Before I could open my mouth and say, “there’s the new Harry Potter book,” Tigger had her face in one and had lost all contact with reality.

Little Bit and I left her sprawled on the floor with all the other wizard-smack injected children and went in search of a younger book.

It is a sad fact of parenting that children would rather eat gummi worms than broccoli. Similarly, though we try to steer them towards high-quality children’s literature, often they prefer to read crap.

Hence, Little Bit scoured the shelves and came back to me with “Strawberry Shortcake and Her Insipid Friends Use a Saccharine Plot Line to Teach You a Life Lesson.”

That may not be the actual title, but you get the gist.

In this story, Strawberry and her pals sail off with their friend Rainbow Sherbet on a cruising vessel the size of the Queen Mary. Rainbow lives on this boat all by herself and the girls go on an overnight adventure with her, totally without parental supervision. In spite of the glorious sights of Sundae Mountain and Fudge Falls, Strawberry’s friend Angel Cake feels homesick and cries.

Not to worry, Strawberry and Rainbow tell Angel Cake, “Home is where the heart is.” I swear they actually use that phrase. They convince Angel Cake she should feel happy and content because she’s with her friends.

Now I ask you, what kind of lesson is that to teach a young child? Forget about your home, never mind your parents who lie awake at night worrying about whether you’ve eaten too many gummi worms and not enough broccoli. As long as you are with your friends, everything is all right, even if the friend in charge is an international drug runner. How else could a little girl afford such a vessel?

Fortunately, Little Bit is a sensible child and didn’t buy it for a minute. She thought it perfectly reasonable for Angel Cake to be homesick and want to sleep in her own bed. She told me she would cry on that boat too, no matter what Strawberry “Drug Runner’s Accomplice” Shortcake said, because she would want her Mommy.

Right on, Little Bit. Don’t believe everything you read.

Nevertheless, Little Bit wanted to choose the Strawberry Shortcake book to buy. Did I mention that the book replaced the word “very” with “berry?” Every single time? *Shudder.* But I was buying a book for Tigger and had to buy one for Little Bit too, and who am I to censor her reading material?

Well, we scooped Tigger and the Half Blood Prince off the floor and headed for the check out counter. On the way we found a display of magical implements, including a hollow plastic wand filled with sparkly purple gel.

“I WANT ONE I WANT ONE,” my children chorused.

“Would you rather have that or the Harry Potter book?” I asked Tigger. She clutched the book to her chest and backed away from the wands.

“Would you rather have a wand or the Strawberry Shortcake book?” I asked Little Bit.

She tossed the book aside and grabbed a wand.

Oh happy day!

For the rest of the day, Tigger absorbed wizardry through her pores and Little Bit cast spells. Oh, and we picked raspberries in the backyard and baked a pie.



29 thoughts on “

  1. Hmm, I’m not a pie person. I like donuts. Thought you’d like to know. Wait. What kind of pie…?Also, just to make you envious: I’ve always slept til noon on saturdays. That’s the main reason for maintaining a husband!!! 😉

  2. No really, if you didn’t train him early you may have blown it. When they were little he would make them breakfast and then take them to the park for a couple of hours. (He highly recommends wax paper for the slide…wheeeee!(Now they are 12 and 15… they sleep past noon!)

  3. So sorry you had to suffer through that berry awful book even once. See, I have found the capacity to tolerate stepping on My Little Pony, Groovy Girl etc. accessories as long as I don’t have to tolerate the horrid excuses for books that they license for them. What I want is a book that explains how those ponies use cell phones and punch glasses!

  4. Thanks for the….compliment?
    Actually, 90% of my work is personal narrative like that and/or prose and/or short stories and/or poetry.  You’d realize this if you looked through the whole site before making a comment like that.
    🙂  Thanks anyway

  5. …don’t sweat it, it was a pretty benign observation on your part…the boy can dish it out, but he can’t take it…perhaps he overlooked the fact you might also be considering his comments…oh, there he goes again…i see somebody shelled out $26 for the new potter at my place…i may have to break down and read it…

  6. Lately the children’s section of big bookstores are heavily laced with crappy children’s literature. I don’t understand how parents can manage to read that stuff out-loud. I used to have a “NO Berenstain Bears” policy whenever we visited the library.

  7. Oh incidentally, I read your entry.
    It’s superb.  Your voice is excellent.  The story is simple but engaging.  The characters (real as they may be to you, though still fiction for me) are well developed.  It is possessed of what Italo Calvino calls “Quickness”.  I love the piece.
    I’m also unblocking you, I’m going to assume you just hadn’t seen my 28 other works and only saw the nasty 10%.
    Cheers and have a lovely day.  I still think Potter books are crap.  Does that make me evil?

  8. Seriously….read the other works I listed.  There’s a great deal of work exactly like the one you liked.  That’s largely why I found it a very frustrating comment.  I’m better now, I’ve had my coffee and sold a cell phone.

  9. i love your day. even though it seemed like it was very frustrating for you at time. it made me happy to peak into your life a little. i hope your life is really like that and it’s not fiction your writing!

  10. lol…my 11 year old step daughter would be prone to pick the strawberry shortcake book over the harry potter book…she is into everything childish yet, like care bears, my little pony, strawberry shortcake, hello kitty, as i think it is because her unfeeling, heartless, selfish mother stole her childhood away much too young:) but that is neither here nor there…
    RYC:  Incidentally, I never have the time to go to the bathroom with those 7 kids around, because as soon as the door closes i hear “mom” being yelled as someone always seems to need my attention right then!….And if you notice….i blog usually between midnite and 3am or so lol…only to get my days frustrations out…or well because i am up checking my daughter’s bloodsugars and cant get back to sleep!

  11. You know, when I was little, I had a S.S. book, and it was actually good.  But now that everything old is new again, it’s not quite the same.  Have we changed our expectations, or did they lower their standards?

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