Saturday, July 30, 2011

Be Gentle!

 You can see in the photo my son is enjoying the book. While we had it home from the library it was one of the more frequently requested reads. Yet while I like it just fine I'm not 100% excited about it msyelf. Why?

The concept is great. The story line and sentences are interesting. I completely understand why my son enjoys it so much.

A little bear and his big brother have a small kitten. Big brother lets little brother play with the kitten "but be gentle!" warns big brother. Little bear does all kinds of things toddlers are apt to do to animals, things that the toddler thinks are fine but really aren't. "You must be gentle, she's little!" big brother continues to warn little bear. "Nah!" little bear always exclaims in disbelief. In the end little bear learns to be gentle.

Of course the idea behind the book is to encourage small readers/listeners to be gentle with little animals as well. When I asked my 2 year old asked if the kitten felt happy, sad, or scared when little bear swung it by its paws he said "Kitten had fun!". Similar misunderstanding when the kitten was squeezed. I think the text could been a little clearer in how the kitten probably felt. Perhaps it could say something indicating the kitten was scared when swung, hurt when squeezed, etc. At the same time, it may be a good thing and we just need to own the book for my 2 year old to get the full impact of the message. He certainly could relate to what the little bear was going through when playing with the kitten. A book that encourages discussion with a 2 year old is not something to be ignored.

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