T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, July 26, 2010

Horrible Children's Stories...

I've been teaching my son Spanish. It's something I struggled to learn in my latter years of high school even though my mom was fluent. I don't want my son to miss out on what I did.

So, we're doing morning Spanish lessons. He's getting quite good. A video of his lesson is posted on his blog. As he's getting older, my lessons with T Rex are getting more complex to where we're starting to read stories in Spanish together.
I did some Amazon.com shopping (we don't leave the house much - too much work with two little ones) and found these books:

Jack and the Beanstalk, The Gingerbread Man, Puss in Boots, The Milkmaid, and The Three Little Pigs.

I'm always a bit nervous when I purchase something sight unseen. But, these are classics and they were only $3.99 each and qualified for buy three get one free. As we were reading them I realized they were not uplifting tales.

Jack and the Beanstalk glorifies thievery and Puss in Boots was equally bad - it celebrates cleverness through deception. The Gingerbread Man is about a couple who desperately want a child but cannot have one so they make one out of gingerbread who runs away teasing along the way until he is eaten by a cleaver fox. The Milkmaid is about a girl whose dreams are shattered because her pail of milk breaks. And the Three Little Pigs ends with the wolf falling down the chimney into a boiling pot of water.

Luckily, we are reading them in Spanish so the message is not totally clear but the photos inside sometimes reveal what's happening - especially the wolf in the pot of boiling water. There is one in the group that is what I would consider "okay".

The Ugly Duckling

Another questionable tale because of the poor patito (duckling) is ridiculed by his siblings because he is different. At least the ending is happy but only because he finds his "own kind". He does love this book, though. He is very concerned that El Patito Feo (the ugly duckling) is muy triste (very sad).

Let's just say, sometimes I change the story to protect the innocent.

(P.S. Jenners, I don't recommend these for your book blog. Let's just say, these won't be getting rave reviews on my Goodreads!)


Kim said...

First of all I want to say - WOW. I can't believe you are teaching him Spanish. That's so neat! Second, I completely agree with your review of these 'classics'. Someone gave us Alice in Wonderland - an original version and it is filled with drug references and violent imagery. I had to hide it so that Deaglan wouldn't pick it. I also received a book of nursery rhymes and some of these are just as bad.

Still not getting any sleep. Any advice? I've been trying to let Naveen cry it out as much as I can stand to but he just doesn't want to sleep for any longer than an hour or two at a time. I know it will get better because Deaglan wasn't much of a sleeper at this age either but it does make it hard to get anything 'extra' done.

The kids look great! Hope you are well.

Nina said...

That sounds very fun to read in Spanish to your little guy. I only have one of those tales, the Three little Pigs. My son loves this book, we read it almost ever night. It is an Usborn version and it is toned down a little bit as I found a 3 little pigs story on the book shelf in the nursery at church and it actually had the wold eating the first two pigs. I didn't like that at all, however the pigs do eat the wolf in the end. I typically leave that part out.

Amber, The Unlikely Mama said...

It's so weird to read these stories as an adult. Even before I had a baby I would think about old nursery rhymes and fairy tales...and just think WTF? How did these ever become things we read to babies? Now that I say that, off to Google Rockabye Baby, since it's the only song that puts my daughter to sleep :-)

Erin said...

Aww he's so cute, and does the spanish so well. I should be working on this with my boys too! I took 5 years of spanish, was fluent in conversational as well as slang spanish...moved out of CA and didn't have the need...now I'm stupid again! HA Maybe my boys and I can learn together! =)

Jed Wheeler Family said...

Nothing bugs me more than low quality books, especially kids books. Here are some that I own and love (in Espanol nonetheless)
-"if i had a DRAGON" which has sentences in English and Spanish. Written by Tom and Amanda Ellery. I would read this to my first graders but I don't think it would be too old for T-Rex. Next,
-The Usborne First Thousand Words in Spanish. I love this as a child-friendly reference book.
-I also like the usborne touchy-feely books in espanol www.ubah.com
I like simple stories best for Spanish because I like that the children are picking up on the words and not struggling with a foreign story line. Plus my accent is no bueno. :)
-Eric Carle stories can also be found in Spanish.
Wal-Mart often carries loved stories in Spanish, maybe thats just a locale thing.
Happy Reading!

septembermom said...

Very cool that you're teaching him Spanish. That's an awesome skill for him to master. I agree with many of your observations about these books. And I'm with Kim, about Alice in Wonderland. It always disturbs me a bit.

Emily said...

Yes...and make sure you don't purchase the Rapunzel story from the same company. Yikes!!

Thanks for the heads up. And good luck with your Spanish teaching.

Such lucky kids!

angie said...

LOVE that you are teaching him spanish! Wish I were bilingual!

Missus Wookie said...

Can you find spanish books at the library? We had fun with the Disney and Sesame St computer games which were Spanish/English.

Hope you find some tho' it is a great skill to have.