Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Stinky Cheese Man Returns

This afternoon I found my son reading 
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales 
by Jon Sciezka
and wondered 
"How many times has he read that book?"
I don't know, but I do know he was reading
it three (!) years ago when I wrote this post.
A post in which I do a better job of venting
my frustration that he's still reading The
Stinky Cheese Man than I do of describing
The Stinky Cheese Man. Which I'll probably
do again, but I'll give description another try.
The characters in the stories use as many words
to argue about the nature of their tales and
their presentation in the book as they do to actually
participate in stories. Not surprisingly, the
stories don't amount to much in terms of 
action. These odd parodies and
commentaries on the original fairy tales
rarely make enough narrative sense to
qualify as stories in their own right.
Jack of "Jack and the Beanstalk" tries to run
the book, but ends up running away. 
The pictures are big and bold and weird 
and cover the pages as does the sprawling
text which seems to have as little notion of
consistency as the stories do.
I have no idea why this book appeals to him
so. But in all likelihood, its absurdity will
endear it to any kid old enough to have
heard "Run, run as fast as you can" more
than once.
I asked my son about the book and he has memorized
much of it. Here's what he told me. This should give 
you a feel for the material. And yes, this is a fairly
accurate quote from the book. 
"The Stinky Cheese Man had bacon for a mouth
and olives for eyes. In 'Jack's Bean Problem' the giant
said 'Fee Fi Fum Fory I have made my own story.
I'll grind your bones to make my bread.' And Jack
says 'Giants talking in upper case letters really messes
up the page.' 'The End of the evil stepmother who said 
I'll huff and I'll snuff and I'll give you three wishes. And the
Beast turned into seven dwarves. Happily Ever After. 
For a spell had been cast by a wicked witch. Once Upon a Time.'
And Jack says 'That's not a fairly stupid tale, that's
an incredibly stupid tale. Awk!'
The reason why Jack said awk is that the giant dragged
Jack to the next page."
ps an image search turned up a Stinky Cheese Man 
tattoo. That is just wrong.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Most RecomMended 3

When my son was very small, I read him a Fisher-Price book from who knows where. A flimsy book with a 
flimsy colorful cover with pages stapled in, and
then falling out, and then taped in, again and again
and again, because even though he had the whole
book memorized he wanted to read it again. 
And again.
And again.
It is now more tape than book and I swear I will
throw it out after posting this. Really, I will.
He can't really need to read this again?
Perhaps he does. But I may throw it out anyway.*
We've been trying to make the teenage divide 
visible to him.
Little People Opposite Safari is filled with simple big pictures and simple rhymes.
“Let’s go on safari.
There’s nothing to lose.
Remember your camera,
And wear comfy shoes.”
The rhymes are logical, the little Fisher-Price people and animals
direct and engaging with the opposites bolded for quick emphasis:
“The monkeys climb up, the lions lie down,
They’re all smiles, except for one
rhino’s frown.” 
This flimsy paperback soon became more scotch tape than paper.
Oddly, I never sought out the others in the series, perhaps because
though it clearly satisfied a craving for my son, the merchandizing link
and the simplistic structure became a bit much for me after a while.
If you’ve a source for old paperbacks, the others in the series are:
Alphabet Farm
Number Circus
Color and Shape Shop
-Spectrum Mom
* I tried to recycle it, my husband fished it out and said "But I read this to him hundreds of times!" It's currently in his car.