It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Our New Favourite Book

I have a neighbour, other side of the street, one door east, who is a teacher. Elementary school. Every so often she changes classrooms or changes grades (or, less often, changes schools), requiring a significant purge-and-declutter of stuff. Does any profession accumulate “stuff” like an elementary school teacher? Oh, probably, bit it’s one I’m more familiar with.

And in this case, benefit from, for whenever the lovely Marianne does a purge, a box and a bag and a bucket of stuff come my way. And Marianne’s cast-offs are worth having!!! I have gotten the most amazing stuff from her.

And then there’s this. I’m not sure how it slipped through her filters, but this book is a pedagogical fail.

It is also OUR VERY MOST FAVOURITE BOOK!!!! Why? Let me explain…

It starts out blandly enough. (Oh, and in M’s defense, I should add that it started out in good condition. Those roughed-up corners? Daisy. I’m telling you now (because if I didn’t, how would you ever guess?) puppies are MURDER on board books.) So, a book, a little kitschy in that it’s a licensed product, but Beatrix Potter is pretty benign as far as licensing goes. Way better than, say, Dora the Explorer or (gag me) Sponge Bob…

Great literature it’s not, but the point of the book is clear and simple. (The text of this picture less so. My new camera is cheap and focus-challenged. Sorry about that. Now all you twenty- and thirty-something young’uns can get a teaser of what you’ll be seeing when you’re a fifty-something without your reading glasses… Just squint a bit. It’ll come right into focus!!)

On ensuing pages, we learn that Benjamin Bunny’s jacket is brown, and Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit has a purple dress. And then we come to this:

Peter Rabbit eats red radishes. Red… radishes… Let’s have a closer look shall we?

Now, it may very well be true that Peter Rabbit does indeed eat red radishes. Lord only knows he’s a bunny, and they do love their veggies!

But unless Peter has in his thieving hands a bunch of mutant radishes, I’d say those are carrots.

Orange carrots.

The kids? Do they have a problem with this? Does it offend and bemuse them? Are their little minds a-twist with confusion? No. Not at all. Not for a second.

No, they think this is hysterical. This is not “Benjamin Bunny’s colours” to them, this is “The Silly Carrot Book.” We read it a LOT for the sheer joy of falling all over ourselves laughing at this very page. I pick up this book, and you can see the two-year-olds priming themselves for hysteria.

“AAAHHH! Mary’s going to read the book with the page with the WRONG COLOUR!!! And the WRONG VEGETABLE!!!”

Cue mad display of feverish laughter. IT IS SO FUN!!!! A grown-up has somehow made a mistake, and they know it’s wrong!!!! Does it get any better?

It.
Does.
NOT.

This, my friends, is Toddler Humour at its peak.

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October 21, 2011 - Posted by | books | , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. No, those are radishes all right, radishes aren’t always round – look at the leaves, darlings, look at the leaves.

    Okay, they could be redder.

    They’re NOT? I had no idea! (Of course, I only discovered beets came in colours other than red a couple of years back… the joy of farmer’s markets!)

    Not that I will tell the children this, mind you. Spoil all their hilarity with dreary facts? I think not.

    Comment by Z | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. Whatever. Those are carrots. If they can get the vegetable AND the colour wrong, I have little faith in their ability to correctly render leaves. 😉

    There you go. Slipped right out of the noose of facts with a clever little rationalization. Neatly done, Hannah!

    Comment by Hannah | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  3. I see long radishes regularly at our local farmers market. In the time when this book was written, long “heirloom” radishes were probably the norm rather than the exception.
    nice pic here: http://blog.farmtablecatering.com/2009/04/27/radish.aspx

    Comment by Altissima | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  4. I learn so much from your blog, but maybe this is where I can contribute a bit of knowledge. I work at Beatrix Potter’s house in Cumbria, UK and I have picked up a lot of Beatrix Potter facts along the way, including that Peter Rabbit definitely eats radishes. The experts think they are a variety called “long scarlet”. The picture isn’t great, but carrots would have a lot more feathery, divided leaves.

    Comment by Laura | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  5. I just have to say Im soooo jealous of Laura for working at the Beatrix Potter house!!!!!!! I collect Beatrix potter stuff and am only slightly obsessed with it and ooo she works there!!!!!!!!!!! If I ever win the lotto (the one I dont play) I will be there

    Comment by heather | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  6. Ok, I have to agree about the radish stuff–mine are long red radishes that I grow in the garden here (but never so perfectly carrotish). But I like this better with it being wrong. I like that 2 year olds know that it’s wrong and love it. They are 2 year olds after my own heart.

    Comment by Bridgett | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  7. That doesn’t exactly look like a brown jacket to me either. Just sayin’!

    Comment by Patti | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  8. Oh wait…is it a different bunny who has the brown…I’m not to familiar with these stories!

    Comment by Patti | October 24, 2011 | Reply


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