Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Okay, so I'm fully prepared for the backlash I'm certain to receive about this post, but this is MY personal opinion, and MY parenting choices, and while you're welcome to peek in and snicker, you shouldn't take anything I'm about to say as a personal attack on your choices or your opinions.

So...that disclaimer it goes:


No, really.

And I know it's meant to be crude and off-color and even slapstick (in fact, I think I still have a Stupid Bunny shirt somewhere in my dresser), but I just can't see how, after reading and re-reading, forwards and backwards, with the kids, without the kids, with Amy and without Amy, that it's okay for a 6-year-old. I just can't.

And it's not even that the value of potty jokes is lost on me. I do get it. I do. I have a father and a brother. Please.

But the "humor" here is always at the expense of some other bunny. And it's very self-deprecating, what with the entire bunny family looking like they just stepped out of Deliverance, dressed in wife beaters, buck teeth, and even speaking in some sort of backwoods chopped up version of English.

And I do understand that books like this, books with potty humor, books with stupid jokes, books with non-life-threatening injuries, help encourage reluctant readers to read. And there is that whole idea that as long as a child is reading, it doesn't really matter what it is.

But in a surprising turn of events, I truly disagree with this statement.

Because, honestly, what this comes down to for me is that we do not allow nor encourage nor condone our children calling or being called dumb or stupid. I just don't see a need for these words. Well, until you understand what a politician is, or insurance companies, or the cable company's 4-hour window.

But until then, books like this Dumb Bunny series could potentially and unintentionally encourage children who are already easily influenced and emotionally vulnerable to make fun of others. It says that's it's okay to laugh at someone else, as long as they're dumb or doing dumb things. It says that if you do dumb things, others will laugh at you. And the book came from a library, a store, or a parent, so, therefore, it MUST be okay.

And on a grander scale, I think it's the natural precursor to bullying, hazing, setting kids on fire, gang raping a 15-year-old, beating fellow cheerleaders to a pom-pom pulp -- especially for those children who may not be capable enough of breaking from the pack when the lords of the rings start dancing around the fire.

And it hurts me to write this because I would never ever condone censorship in any shape or form, let alone even remotely suggest book banning. But there must be a level of responsibility set forth by the authors, the publishing house, the booksellers, the libraries, and the schools.

At the very least, these books should not be readily accessible to children who's minds are only just developing, who's identities are just barely forming, who are so susceptible to following others, to thinking like the rest, to avoiding conflict by conforming.

Aren't we trying to raise leaders here?

I know that we're not always successful, but it is our every intention to teach our kids to speak up if they ever see another child hurting (verbally or physically) another child. We're trying to teach them how to stand up for others. We're trying to teach them that it's alright to say no, that's not okay, when the rest of their little clique is treading questionable paths.

But how can we do that when books like the Dumb Bunny series say, come on, join us, let's make fun of these really stupid rabbits, who are obviously soooo different from us that that somehow justifies the ridicule and derision.

But the thing is...and this IS the thing...that while the book ends on page 24 with a great big laugh and a nice tidy bow, the kids in the real world, on the real live playground are picking up real live stones.


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