Friday, September 26, 2008

The Stupids Read Banned Books

Welcome to this week's installment of Elise's Banned Book Challenge, in which

Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them

Week Five:
The Stupids Have a Ball
by Harry Allard, illus. by James Marshall

The Stupid family throws a costume ball to celebrate the fact that their children failed every subject on their report cards.

Thoughts: I decided it wasn't fair only to review books where I totally and completely disagree with the politics or opinions behind the challenge. So I picked this one because I have strong negative feelings about the word "stupid" and have talked to Tink many times about not using it. Also, it won a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award, much like another book near and dear to me. In the end, the stupid thing didn't bother me, though I fear it did introduce the word into Tink's vocabulary. But the book wasn't that funny*, other than the dad dressing up as our country's first president George Washingmachine. I didn't even have a cute conversation with Tink about it. Check out The Stupids Die instead, which I think is hilarious.

And stay-tuned for next week when I return to bashing people who want to tell others whom to marry.

* Certainly not as funny as, say, hairy-nosed otters.


Diane T said...

Funny thing about the word "stupid" ... I also worked hard with Boy when he was little to make sure he didn't use that word about other people. So much so that when he was Tink's age, he thought "stupid" was a "bad word," like some of the other curse words I told him to avoid.

I haven't read that particular "Stupids" book, but "The Stupids Die" is pretty funny.

debbie said...

Stupid was a "bad word" in my house too -

But honestly, THE STUPIDS DIE has to be one of the best ever book titles.

cindy said...

where do you find these books? haha! happy weekend, jacqui!

Jacqui said...

Debbie, the book is good too. The lights go out and the whole family decides they must be dead.

Diane, Tink is that way about some innocuous words I use all the time after her camp counselors banned them this summer for abuse. "Whatever" is the worst.

Cindy, from Elise's list!

Sharon Blankenship said...

Dav Pilkey was a problem student himself. I'd almost bet that he was called that word.
Working with special ed kids for years has given me a particular sensitivity to the "S" word.
However, I see Pilkey's book as an attempt to make fun of something personal to him. When kids can make fun of a word, it loses its power to hurt them.
Many of my students loved to point out all the silly mistakes in the book and pictures, which also made them feel pretty sharp.
I think this is a book that gives a personal view of words and helps students learn to laugh at those very words.
Sorry to go all psycho-bitch on you, just wanted to share a different viewpoint and hope to spark more conversation.

Jacqui said...

Sharon, I think you make a good point about the Stupids and the word (though this particular book isn't Pilkey, it's the same idea).

I think maybe Tink is a little young to get all the mistakes in the book and would have liked it more if she'd understood the weird things were intentional mistakes. She loved the cat with his tail up his nose!

Sharon Blankenship said...

Touche, Jacqui. Sorry. The books I had read my kids were the Dav Pilkey ones, so I (nothing new) didn't know what I was talking about.
As I told my kids. Words are just words. They can't hurt you unless you let them.
But Tink and Captain Destructo are way too young.
Also, it takes awhile to be able to walK away from hurtful words.
Thanks for the correction.
Sharon, semi-unpsyching.

sruble said...

"Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them"
You are a good mom!

The Stupids Die is my favorite of the series. Totally cracks me up.

Anonymous said...

I just subsituted the word stupid with silly, and my kid loved it. The word stupid when used in my parents house was grounds for punishment.