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Kid stuff - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Kid stuff
I love the current run of books like The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Girls Book: How to Be the Best At Everything. Making kites out of newspapers, doing your own friendship bracelets, making compasses from needles... these are all important childhood skills. TGB seems to be missing godseyes, but surely the omission was accidental.

Now, if we could just get preschool songbooks to actually include the traditional songs instead of new songs "to the tune of" the traditional ones, I'll be happy. I mean, if you don't know "The Farmer in the Dell," what will you do when you get I Am The Cheese assigned in high school, right?
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Comments
thefish30 From: thefish30 Date: March 7th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

WORD

As a mom, this boggles me. Not just preschool, but elementary as well. I started discouraging my girls from participating in the 'holiday' programs because they consisted wholly of inanities like "Chilly Willy the Icy Puppy" ???!!!WTFBBQ? and an abysmally bad rewriting of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas".

Also had to instate a family music time in order to pass on bits of culture like "The Caisson Song", "Clementine", and "Barbara Allen". Which they were not getting anywhere otherwise.

We're raising a whole generation of kids with no cultural reference points and no emotional ties to the past at all.

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: WORD

???!!!WTFBBQ?
My sentiments exactly--the syllables don't even fit! I was reading a suggested preschool "chant" that had no discernable rhythm, and suggested songs for MLK day that I couldn't begin to imagine what tune they were supposed to fit to, because the lines didn't have a repetitive length.

Oh, well. I was delighted to find out that they do, at least, know "Farmer." "Clementine" is a great idea, too. Have to do "Clementine." But I need a book--it's been a while since I was a kid.

We're raising a whole generation of kids with no cultural reference points and no emotional ties to the past at all.

EXACTLY. We're living shallowly in the present tense. How... dull.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 7th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: WORD

(That was me. Forgot I wasn't logged in.)
From: rosathome Date: March 8th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: WORD

It does slightly boggle me that you wouldn't expect it to be the role of the family to pass on those things you consider to be important cultural reference points. No one else is raising your kids except you.
thefish30 From: thefish30 Date: March 10th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: WORD

Oh, you'll get no argument from me there. It's just that the nursery/schools used to come alongside of parents and the rest of the culture much more in doing the passing on. I was taught in school many of the same songs my mother and even her mother were taught as children, but my kids' friends have never heard of them. Ditto with folk stories. And, you know, "the Farmer in the Dell" just isn't the same with four or five people.

If you're going to be spending class time learning stories and songs, why not go with the stuff that's stood the test of time and gives you some cultural literacy, to boot?
hippie1025 From: hippie1025 Date: March 7th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Daring Book For Girls has godseyes.

My kids the other day didn't know "Three Blind Mice" and the parents seemed kind of appalled when I did it with them. They didn't know "Yankee Doodle" either but they enjoyed marching to music (it was an "m" storytime).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 7th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, I was totally blanking on the title of Daring Book.

I think a lot of these things got sanitized because nursery rhymes are fun horrible and violent.
arclevel From: arclevel Date: March 7th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. If they don't know "Three Blind Mice", how will they ever understand at a college hockey game, why the pep band suddenly starts playing that one tune whenever the (three) refs come out onto the ice?
hippie1025 From: hippie1025 Date: March 8th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear. :)
s8219 From: s8219 Date: March 7th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
::ponders::

The five year old I live with never really comes home with any of that. She has a lot of colorbooks from school and math, but rarely projects (she made a hat for thanksgiving)

But thinking on it I never did that stuff either.

So now I feel we're missing out. Hmm... I mean, I suppose it can be done at home. I'll tell my roommate about it. She loves doing crafts with Darla (is her child)

And what's a godeyes?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 7th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
These books are really popular, and you can get them at any book store or library.

Godseyes are a yarn craft that you weave around two sticks to hang in the window. I learned them in Girl Scout camp. Along with monkeys' fists, which I've actually used as an adult, shockingly.
s8219 From: s8219 Date: March 7th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ohh! Yes, I know what those are. I just didn't know the same for them.
aimeejmc From: aimeejmc Date: March 7th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now, if we could just get preschool songbooks to actually include the traditional songs instead of new songs "to the tune of" the traditional ones, I'll be happy.

A-men! My daughter has one of those new songs to the tune of books and it drives me crazy.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 7th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Its odd how these things change isn't it.

I mean i know all the old nursary rhymes because we had tapes with them on and that was what was put on at bedtime, but my sister who is slightly younger doesn't because by the time she was old enough to remember them I'd decided that story tapes were much better.

Also I think a lot of teh problem with teaching kids nursary rhymes nowadays is that they are all UNPC OMG!!

Like, did you know that Baa Baa Black Sheep is racist? So now they have to sing Baa Baa Multicoloured sheep instead. I felt like asking the teacher whether that wasn't predudiced against homosexuals.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: March 7th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Like, did you know that Baa Baa Black Sheep is racist? So now they have to sing Baa Baa Multicoloured sheep instead. I felt like asking the teacher whether that wasn't predudiced against homosexuals..."

You're kidding, right???? If not, kindly inform that teacher that according to the British Coloured Sheep Breeders Association, true British sheep are always coloured, and that the white taint was introduced by the Romans.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 7th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish I was kidding. I think that the world would be a better place if I was.

Another complaint that I've heard against nursary rhymes is that they are pointless. It was one some radio program where this guy with a degree and opinions was ranting on about how teaching kids nursary rhymes was filling their heads up with useless information. I hadn't the heart to phone up and tell him to sod off.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
*groan*

you know, I'm all for not offending people. But some things are just too much. There's a difference between calling someone an offending name, and singing a song that happens to contain a word that might be offending to some people.
It's a sore spot right now... I recently watched a film adaption of a book I read as a child, and was very disappointed to find the lyrics of a song changed. And I wonder if that might not have been done so as not to offend Turkish people. Purely my own, unfounded thery, of course.
I demand my right to hear a song about the boarding of Turkish ships, dammit! I wouldn't be offended by 65-year-old Turkish songs in which "we" are the baddies, either. Hrmpf.

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 7th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I linked over to a BBC article on this, and I'm still baffled. Something about, no, it's not about offense, just about "education," getting the kids to use different color words, but...

Um...

I'm not following! Really. A lot of them don't fit the rhythm of the song.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, some of them are quite honestly inappropriate, in publicly funded schools anyway. But they could at least find some decent new songs =) There are all kinds of excellent children's songs being produced, if they would only look.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 7th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe they are inapropriate in this day and age, but it just seems to me that people are becoming over sensitized to this sort of thing, after all what kid is going to sing Baa Baa Black sheep and think "Oh this is a white supremist song I'm singing here."

sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: March 7th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
We learned from the beginning that most nursery rhymes had historical context that accounted for things that we didn't understand or thought were objectionable.

Seemingly random and pointless acquisition of knowledge is exercise for the developing brain.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 7th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here, here!

Also a lot of the rhymes actually detail historical events like "Mary, Mary quite contrary" which is something to do with how Bloody Mary could have any kids.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 7th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are also five billion "faux" explanations for any nursery rhyme (like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" is rumored to be about Cathoic persecutions, or "Ring Around the Rosie" about the Black Plague), so I tend to quadruple-check any historical explanation I hear of them.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 7th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eh, the one-room schoolhouse that was attended by the real Mary and her sheep is next to the Inn in Massachusetts where my husband proposed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Had_a_Little_Lamb

The original poem was much longer than what we usually learn now. It was written by a visitor to the school who was touched by the attachment between the lamb and girl.
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: March 7th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Ring around the rosey" is a modern corruption. I learnt it as "Ring, a ring of roses" which refers to the rosey coloured, lumpy swellings around the wrists and neck that are symptoms of plague. It annoys me no end (beyond reason, I know!) that this has been changed. It may make more sense to dance round a rose bush (and sneeze?) but it loses the meaning. It was used as a introduction to teaching about plague in history at my primary school.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 7th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, that's the urban legend I was talking about. Snopes debunks it pretty well. I was disappointed, as I'd also learned it in school and from my mother--it's really entrenched!
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 7th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I learnt Ring a Ring of Roses, all hope is not lost!!
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 7th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
True, although I only reacently found out about the Ring around Roses Black plague connection not being completly accurate, ah the shattering of my childhood illusions!

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thoughts like this always make me feel so old (and I'm only 21). I always feel so old in comparison to my fellow apprentices, who're just couple of years younger than me... I guess I simply had a very oldfashioned childhood...
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
It wouldn't bother me so much if the songs weren't so ridiculous..

I'm all for setting Shel Silverstein poems to music.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: March 7th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
See, now, this is why children get abducted so frequently nowadays. Tell the story of Red Ridinghood the right way, and kids learn why they shouldn't talk to strangers!

My grandniece is lucky to have me, because Great-Auntie has CDs of proper songs that kids like, and every time a storm comes up, we sing "...loud the wind howls, loud the waves roar! Thunderclouds rend the air!"

--the sergeant majorette, who always cried at "The Minstrel Boy" as a kid, totally unaware that the word minstrel could refer to other than a freed slave from the Deep South...
matril From: matril Date: March 7th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. My son's preschool does not seem to have this problem, thank goodness. They sing Hickory Dickory Dock and a song with the word "gay" in its old usage, and no one seems bugged by it. Perhaps this is because many of the students, like my son, are non-verbal, so the teachers could just as well be singing nonsense words. :P
anais_ninja From: anais_ninja Date: March 7th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got the Dangerous Book for Boys and the Daring Book for Girls for my cousin's son and daughter this past Christmas. I was really worried that they would think they were stupid or babyish because the boy is 10 and the girl is 13 and neither is a big reader, but I thought "oh well, their little brother (4) might like them in a few years." And yet, the books were a smash hit. How could I tell? They both stopped in the middle of openning presents to read them. It was very gratifying; I felt like I won at cousinhood.
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: March 7th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
My family pretty much stopped Christmas morning in its tracks to read The Dangerous Book for Boys out loud, and we're 13-19 years old. I bought the girls' book for my mom. They're just fantastic.
anais_ninja From: anais_ninja Date: March 7th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
They really are. We pretty much did the same thing when we were wrapping the books up. I confess, I expected them to be corny or boring or out-of-date. But they're not! They're really just good, clean fun.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 7th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
These new Dangerous/Daring books seem to be in the vein of The American Girl's Handibook" and its brother. My brother and I read our reprints of those (I think they're from the early 20th century?) until they fell apart. So fun and full or weird cool stuff; I'd read them on rainy days, alternating between the Boy's book of rafts and camping and theater sets and the girls obscure crafts and weird candy recipes.
callmepatsy From: callmepatsy Date: March 7th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got The Daring Book for Girls from one of my friends for Christmas, and I'm 28. We all had a great time reading it, we're old enough to remember actually doing all those things.
alkari From: alkari Date: March 7th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that my nieces (9 and 5) know the traditional nursery rhymes and songs, and school even uses them for the younger kids! And 20 mths old nephew is also going to learn them.

And those old-style activity books are wonderful - I had great fun as a child reading the ones from my mother and grandmother, with all the things I could make or do. And they came from a time when kids very much had to make their own fun, because "entertainment" was not pre-packaged and mass-delivered like it is now. If you wanted to be a pirate, you made your own sword, sash and pirate hat, and built your own 'pirate ship' to fly your home-made pirate flag. The raft we had on our local creek, carefully constructed from old fuel drums and planks, stayed afloat for years and managed to be everything from a pirate ship to a wartime destroyer, or an explorer's ship going Across the Seas or up Unknown Rivers.
hyacinth_sky747 From: hyacinth_sky747 Date: March 8th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you'd like Cultural Literacy. It talks about these kinds of things. I've taken some Children's Literature classes and we always talk about how violent we (as adults) think kid's books are. (Peter Rabbit's dad gets baked into a pie!) But kids just take this in stride, either taking it as a matter of course or being kind of thrilled by it. Really, there's no point in protecting them from everything. Fairy tales and religion and myth and such are designed to help us get through our tough spots.
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: March 8th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I felt a huge swell of pride that I understood all of that.

Yay for traditional upbringings.

(Ah, I Am The Cheese helped spark my interest in Psychology)
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