08 January 2012

Children's Book Review

No, David!No, David! by David Shannon

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Near the copyright information, the author's own words:
A few years ago, my mother sent me a book I made when I was a little boy. It was called No, David, and it was illustrated with drawings of David doing all sorts of things he wasn't supposed to do.  The text consisted entirely of the words "no" and "David." (They were the only words I knew how to spell.)  I thought it would be fun to do a remake celebrating those familiar variations of the universal "no" that we all hear while growing up.  Of course, "yes" is a wonderful word...but "yes" doesn't keep crayon off the living room wall.

In 1998, this book received the distinction of Caldecott Honor, but as an AP parent I find its content horrible.  After learning this book had been inspired by recollections from his own childhood, I sincerely feel sorry for the young David Shannon.  As a child, he seems to have been repeatedly chastised and punished instead of being redirected and modeled "good" behavior.

It's not very often that I am inclined to give a negative children's book review.  In most cases, if a child is reading, then it's a good thing! --right?  But, No, David! sends the wrong message to kids and to the parents and caregivers who may be reading the story with them.  Even my husband was appalled when my cousin's child brought this book to him for the two to read together.

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