Literary criticism and children’s books

In an effort to better educate my children on literary criticism and its techniques, I sat down with them recently to read a new library book.

After reading an exhilirating depiction of cavemen that was apparently written by a caveman himself, I offered this sophisticated explanation to my boys:

“Wow, this sucks.”

Flip the book over and verify that my vision is not blurred because of a caffeine overdose, this thing actually sold for $15. There are two repeating words on all 12 pages with crudely drawn block figures that are supposed to be people of the cave.

Deeply engaged by the literary critique I have offered and ready to explore deeper meanings, Benjamin asks, “what does suck mean?”

At this point my wife shoots me a look–either to express her exquisite interest in the unfolding dialogue, or to display her unbelief at my sheer stupidity–giving pause to anything I might say.

“Well thank you Daddy,” she says with a smile. “I know what our discipline for today will address.”

An apology to my children (and wife) later, I received a text from my wife that Benjamin had to be helped during nap. Apparently he got a beer box stuck on his head and couldnt get it off.

I dont feel so bad now. Here I thought I was turning them into cavemen, but it appears they have already arrived. The trick now is “manners” and gentlemanliness.


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