Sunday, June 24, 2007

a very negative experience.....

My mother got this book for us when we were children, most likely at a garage sale somewhere. We had read many of the other Russell and Lillian Hoban "Francis" books before this; they seemed to be a bit more uplifting. Harvey's Hideout may have come earlier than Francis, or Russell Hoban just may have been a severly foul mood for a good couple of years but I have to say that this whole book is really kind of nasty. The two little muskrat children are rude and mean to each other from the very beginning. I'm tending to side with the younger one, Harvey, as he seems to at least attempt to make nice after a while. Big sister Mildred is a big old BITCH!!! This is hitting me very close to home as I was quite rude to my younger brother (back in the day) and I guess I don't really like to read a children's book that is basically 90% kids fighting and 10% OH YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE I HAVE TO PLAY WITH SO I"LL BE NICE NOW THAT THE BOOK IS ENDING.
well, other children's authors have definitely done this too (Kevin Henkes, Nancy Carlson, etc.) but I think the difference may just lie in the skill of the illustrator, if we're going to split hairs. The illustrations of these MUSKRATS (gag anyway) are really evil and mean looking. I guess it's one thing if you're going to have cutish little mice (like Lily and Chrysanthemum) being all caught up in their girl drama, but Mildred Muskrat just looks gross no matter what she's doing (so does Harvey). I can't shred any sort of sympathy to a bunch of butt ugly muskrats who are yelling at each other and being rude. It's like having to try and try to stomach an ugly child who is annoying, rude, and mean (INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL and other random happenings in my personal life, unfortunately. not my kids of course).

The disgusting part of this whole rant is that this book is now my son's favorite one and he insists on having it read for his naptime and bedtime story. yuck. Matt has started to flat-out refuse to read it because he hates it too. Maybe I can get clever one of these days and substitute BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCIS. After all this would be a much more desireable draw, being about food and everything.......RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!!!