Friday, April 13, 2018

To Where are Children’s Books taking Your Children These Days? by Theodore Jerome Cohen

To Where are Children’s Books taking Your Children These Days?

Theodore Jerome Cohen

I guess I must be getting old. Certainly, with two daughters well out of the house, one with two teen daughters of her own, it’s been a long time since my wife and I sat down and read Charlotte’s Web or any of the Dr. Seuss books with or to a child. And what a joy these and other books of their ilk were!

So, it was quite a revelation some weeks ago when a dear neighbor—and a talented one at that—asked me if I’d like to purchase a copy of her recently released children’s book. It was a handsome volume, indeed: hardbound, professionally illustrated, full color, the works—every bit as good as anything you’d find on the table at the entrance to Barnes & Nobel, except for the fact the title and subject of the book and its illustrations had to do with, ah, er . . . burps from a kid’s butt!

Now, as I’ve come to learn, butt-burps (as they are called) apparently are all the rage, even for children as young as two. Frankly, while not surprising, this did alert me to the fact that the term had made it into the mainstream children’s literature. In fact, a quick search on Amazon showed me that my neighbor’s book was not unique.

I find that sad but not unexpected, given the state of today’s media circus. What passes for children’s entertainment in books and movies as well as on television and the Internet forces (yes, forces) the young to grow up quickly, often much too quickly. And without parental guidance—without installing the “guardrails” needed to guide children into making good choices, the result all too often is a child who lacks self-respect, who disrespects others, who bullies, and who, in general, is destined to fall behind or fail somewhere along the line in his or her social “contracts” with others . . .  something that, unfortunately, could impact on their entire lives.

I know what you may be thinking (besides “don’t be such a fuddy duddy!): Come on, Ted, it’s quite a stretch from butt-burps to life’s failure! And you would be correct. I will be the first to tell you to have fun with your child, to make every minute with them count, to give them the best you have to offer and to take from these experience memories to treasure for a lifetime. After all, all too soon, you’ll be singing to them: "Turn around and you're a young girl going out of the door."

So, how do we make these times more productive? This is the question I asked myself not long ago. The answer was to create a series of books on life’s lessons that I titled Stories for the Early Years. In the series you currently will find the following:

(1)          Pepe Builds a Nest

This is a wonderful story about making the right choices and dealing with bullies!

Pepe, the penguin, needs to build a nest for Miss Amber and him. But Otto, the bully, keeps stealing his stones. See how Pepe and others solve the problem, finally bringing Pepe and Otto together as friends.

NB: A Spanish edition (Pepe Construye un Nido) and a French edition (Pepe Construit un Nid) are available in paperback.

(2)         Rufus Finds a Home

A wonderful story about feelings, compassion, and caring for others, be they humans or animals! Rufus, a golden retriever, lives with Charlie, a man of many years. But now, Charlie must leave to live with his daughter. The old man doesn't know what to do about Rufus, but when he meets Jimmy and his sister, Heather, the problem of finding Rufus a new home is solved.

(3)         Fuzzy Wuzzy
An exciting story about a precocious bear cub who doesn’t listen to his mother and almost ends up in the hands of the Big Bad Wolf!

The books (also available in Kindle editions) are in full color. Importantly, the illustrations are actual photographs that have been digitally altered to appear as pencil drawings. And especially for teachers and homeschoolers, there is a wealth of educational material available on each book’s web page found on my Website. There, you’ll also find videos demonstrating home projects that you and your child can make. Just scroll down to the bottom of Theodore Cohen’s Home Page and select the book of your choice.

I hope you and your children enjoy the three books in the series, and I welcome your comments and suggestion.


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