The uglification of children's books...

From our Munich correspondent, this from Flickr. It's a comparison of the 1963 and 1991 editions of Scary's Best Word Book Ever. (Comparing 1963 and 2013 would be much worse, I'm guessing.)

This pic shows our intense commitment to the removal of the beauty of God's Creation Order of sexuality from our world. (And those of you who want to defend fathers at stoves, please don't bother; I grew up with one.)

Today, those with faith in Jesus Christ to teach the goodness of sexuality will find the field uncontested—particularly in the church and very particularly in Reformed churches... Male and female, manhood and womanhood, masculinity and femininity are despised. Yet Scripture says:

There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. (Proverbs 30:18, 19)

Our Waxahachie correspondent also received this link from our Munich correspondent, and he responded:

The flickr set... was amazing in its display of "gender-norming." And, not only that, but it removed any laudatory notes as these would apply to one sex or the other. "Handsome pilot" becomes "pilot;" "pretty stewardess" becomes "flight attendant." Yuck.

And, then, there was also the editing of the text portions, to dumb them down—no compound complex sentences, no noun phrases. Indeed, any sort of subordination of phrases to one another is smoothed out to a bland plane of paratactic plainness. Grammatical egalitarianism at work!

Makes me determined to get myself to the Half-Price bookstore and find the old version to read to my grandchild (and, Lord willing, grandchildren).

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

The internet, particularly Amazon, is a boon to those of us who want older editions of books.  The sad thing is much of what is available are editions that have been purged from public libraries.

Okay, I know who the Waxahachie correspondent is. I even know how to correctly pronounce Waxahachie. But who is the Munich correspondent?

Out of curiosity I checked our local public library system's online catalog and could only find 1991, 1997, and 2001 (?) versions of Best Word Book Ever; they no longer carry previous versions. However, I also ran an author search on Richard Scarry. You may know that Scarry has written many more children's books in addition to the Best Word Book Ever editions (the library catalog had 158 items but some are DVDs and translations into Spanish). I did an author search on him and previewed two of his books (via Google Preview) that I'm reasonably sure will be more to your liking. They use more traditional language (fireman vs. firefighter, etc.), or have themes where male/female distinctions aren't applicable (naming animals, foods, etc.).

  1. Richard Scarry's What do people do all day? New York : Random House, c1979 (abridged edition). ISBN #s: 0394818237 (trade), 0394918231 (lib. bdg.), 9780394818238 (trade), 9780394918235 (lib. bdg.).
  2. Richard Scarry's Best story book ever. New York : Racine, Wis. : Golden Press ; Western, c1968. LCCN: 68-28867.  ISBN #s: 0307165485,  0307665488, 9780307165480, 9780307665485.

HTH,

Sue

Sorry for some of the redundancy in my previous post. I tried to move a sentence and didn't notice that I copied and pasted instead of cut and pasted.

Not that their motivations are unclear, but it is notable that items like dental equipment remain outmoded, quaint.

I've compared my Betty Crocker cookbook with my mother's and grandmother's.  What I remember most is different discussions about meat. 

If you really want a cookbook for the ages, get your hands on The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery. I cabbaged on to my mother's back in high school, and gave one to each of my daughters when they were in college.

I often read from that 1200+ page book at the supper table, mostly for entertainment. The recipes for aged egg nog and raisen wine are nearly hysterical without intending to be so. Or turtle soup, beginning with the live turtle, a tree stump, and a hand axe. If any topic of food or edible plant came up in table discussion, someone would pull the Encyclopedia of Cookery off the shelf and we'd look it up, usually finding ourself delighted at what we discovered.

About meats -- the entry for any of them begins with at least 1,000 words on shopping for the raw product at a butcher shop -- what to look for, what to avoid, where to poke or smell, how to store at home. Under "ice box" you are treated to a discussion (with lovely diagram) on how to arrange the food in the box depending on where the block of ice sits (high, low, along the side, etc.).

Highly, highly recommended by this old Marine Corps cook!

Did you read the article in the Wall Street Journal about this? 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Richard Scarry's "Best Word Book Ever." I cannot log-in to the WSJ online, but someone reprinted the book review here: http://testingforkindergarten.com/articles/richard-scarrys-books-for-bus...

One of my family's treasures is the 1964 set of Southern Living cookbooks that my mom received as a bridal shower gift. (Probably a terribly sexist thing to give a lady these days!)

 We keep the Dessert volume on our kitchen counter as a display - it's notable not just for the delicious recipes (four different kinds of pecan pie!) but for the words you won't find in it at all: "calorie", "cholesterol", "gluten", "fat"...

The PC diet Nazis (or maybe non-confrontational geldlings?) have also bowdlerized Dr. Seuss.

In the original version of "The Tooth Book" the final page read:
"And NEVER bite your dentist when he works inside your head. Your dentist is your teeth's best friend. Bite someone else instead!"

The new version now says:
"...Your dentist is your teeth's best friend. Bite carrot sticks instead!"

How unimaginative and boring!

"...Apart from some changes to the covers, the content inside remains the same as always..."

Found an article on the rebranding/republishing of much of Scarry's works:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/57862-an-anniversary-and-a-rebranding-for-richard-scarry.html

"To keep the new editions as true to the original books as possible, Richard Scarry’s original artwork is being scanned for the rebranded books. Kilgras estimated that the rebranding program will encompass upwards of 35 titles, with four to six books scheduled for each season, through at least spring 2016."

"Huck [Scarry Jr.] said he is pleased that Random House is rebranding his father’s oeuvre, now under one house’s roof, and that his books continue to delight and teach. 'It is amazing to see how much my father's books are loved today, 40, 50, and 60 years since they were first published – and loved equally by parents and children all around the world,' he said. 'Apart from some changes to the covers, the content inside remains the same as always – fresh and funny and full of things to discover.'"

Thanks for the tips on cookbooks.

I was going to point out that WSJ review as well.  Sickening, really, how they've "polished" it to make it PC.

Sorry, Kamilla; the Munich correspondent is Pastor Steve Henderson.

Love,

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