Tag Archives: book wtf

In Which Ramona Baffles Me

We were reading “Ramona and Her Mother” last night and I ended up utterly baffled and actually saying “WHAT? WHAT?” in response to some of the things I read aloud.

Ramona wore her pajamas under her clothes to school one day, which makes for an amusing story because she gets way too hot and her teacher thinks she’s sick as a result. Her inspiration for doing this is what got me confused. Ramona was shocked when she learned that firefighters wear their underwear to bed to save time getting dressed if they get called out to a fire in the middle of the night. She wore her pajamas under her clothes to save time getting dressed like the firefighters and when she gets too hot she gets worried about taking off her pajamas because she’s not wearing underwear underneath.

Apparently not wearing underwear under your pajamas is the way it’s done in Ramona’s little world and wearing underwear when you sleep is very very strange.

Um, I’ve never not worn underwear to bed. What? Why isn’t Ramona wearing underwear under her pajamas? Especially when she makes it clear in this book that she wears her pajamas multiple nights in a row. Shouldn’t she be wearing her underwear to cut down on how often her pajamas need to be washed? I don’t understand. Did I have a strange childhood and am somehow a savage in that we always wore underwear under whatever it was we were wearing with the exception of a leotard or swimsuit?

I’m so confused about this. Why wouldn’t the firefighters be wearing their underwear? Of course they’re wearing their underwear? Is this an old time thing? Or is this how they do things in Portland? Or?

I don’t understand.

Elsewhere, half the scenes involve Ramona putting on her “car coat”. WTF is a “car coat”? A good search takes me to a windbreaker. Is this regional language? I asked my mom if it was an older term for it since the book was written in 1979 (the year I was born!). She had never heard of a “car coat”. Is it a regional term? They use it over and over and over again. Why can’t Ramona just be wearing a “coat”. Why is that extra word there? WHY?!

I’m so confused, people. I love these books, but I’m shocked by how many parts of them are making me pause and say “WHAT? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?”

EDIT: A reader has informed me that she and her girls do not wear underwear to bed because that’s how her mother always did it when she was growing up. I’m intrigued. How many of you wear or don’t wear underwear to bed? Here is someone else’s online poll, which could use a bit more data. It looks like MOST people wear underwear to be based on this small sample, but a substantial amount of people do not. Go fill out the poll or answer in the comments here. I’m very curious and who doesn’t love talking about underwear? ;)

Pre-existing Underwear Poll on Sodahead.



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Book WTF: Ever Changing Beast

Sometimes you should just ignore cheap books on the discount rack. A $4 copy of “Fairy Tales for Girls” seemed like a good idea at the time. Instead, it turned out to be a book of overly long, poorly edited fairy tales chock full of grammatical errors. In addition to those joys, the illustrations are inconsistent at best. Check out what happens with the pictures of Beast in “Beauty and the Beast”.

The first time we see Beast, his head is almost as big as his body. He truly does look like a beast. How can you even hold up a head that big?

By the time Beauty meets Beast, he is several feet shorter and has a normal-sized head. Was his head inflated with rage in the first picture? Did Beauty’s presence change his physical appearance? I assume this is a professional illustrator. How can there be so much difference between the first and second pictures!

Beast changes in size AGAIN when he’s dying waiting for Beauty to return from her father’s estate. I know he’s under a witch’s spell that makes him look like a monster, but I don’t recall the spell having anything to do with constant shape-shifting. WTF, illustrator?

And then, when Beast becomes human, he apparently turns into a woman.

That’s not how I remember it, but that’s what the illustration looks like!

I’m all for same-sex couples, but I have a feeling that’s not what the author or illustrator intended to portray.

WTF, book illustrator? I can see you are skilled enough to make nice looking paintings, but learn how to be consistent and also how to make a man look like a man. Long hair alone isn’t what’s making the prince look like a princess. The prince has a very feminine looking bone structure and face.

I could understand maybe a little variation in the size of the beast, but he’s seriously half his original size in the second picture.

How do you mess up that badly? How could the editors see those pictures and think “Perfect! Let’s go to print!”

I just don’t get it. WTF?


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Book WTF: A Pocket for Corduroy

I remember LOVING “A Pocket for Corduroy” when I was a kid and it turns out that my kids love it too. I bought the book about a week ago and we’ve read it and its prequel at least a dozen times since then. Reading it as an adult, I keep saying “WTF” about a couple different things in the book.

Corduroy is Lisa’s favorite stuffed animal, or as she refers to him, her best friend. Despite the fact that losing Corduroy would clearly devastate Lisa, Lisa’s mother does nothing to help her find him when he’s lost. She shrugs it off like it’s not that important.

When the time came for Lisa to fetch her bear, he was gone.

“Oh, Mommy!” she exclaimed. “Corduroy isn’t here where I left him!”

“I’m sorry, honey,” said her mother, “but the laundromat will be closing soon and we must be getting home.”

Her mother doesn’t help her look around or even give Lisa a chance to look for Corduroy some more. He is her most favorite toy on earth and he may have been stolen, but her mother is totally ok with leaving him there. This bothers me. If Woof Woof were to disappear in a public place, we would search everywhere for him before we gave up. I don’t care how much of a hurry I was in, I would make sure that Woof Woof came home with us because my child would be devastated without her favorite “bear”. They didn’t even go up to the front desk to see if someone had turned in a bear! WTF, Lisa’s mother? That’s cold.

Then it turns out Lisa’s mom is a total liar. The laundromat wasn’t about to close AT ALL. Corduroy is hiding in a cave (an artist’s laundry sack) and gets dumped into a dryer. This means the artist had at least 30 minutes (or probably more like an hour since this was 1978.) to dry his clothes before the laundromat closed for the night.

Apparently the artist recognizes Corduroy as a living being, which has all sorts of implications I don’t like. Lisa’s mother is ok with leaving what is the equivalent of either a son or a pet behind at the laundromat? WTF is wrong with her? All sorts of bad things could happen to Corduroy. This is the big city! He’s just a little boy. He can’t defend himself. In fact, he ends up getting sexually assaulted by the artist. Sort of. Check this out.

The artist takes off Cordoroy’s pants!!!!! WHAT?!!!! I mean, he does it under the guise of giving the overalls a good drying, but if Corduroy is a living boy, as he appears to be in this picture/series, it’s totally inappropriate for a stranger to take off his pants in a public place. Now Corduroy is standing naked in the middle of a laundromat. And everyone is just ok with this?

SO WRONG. I mean, the artist is described as thoughtful and I guess if Corduroy complained of being cold, he could help him out by wrapping him in a towel or something. But Corduroy did not ask this man to remove his clothes. He was totally violated. This is exactly why you should never leave your small children alone in a public place, Lisa’s mother.

Corduroy has an adventuresome night in the laundromat Toy-Story-style, then Lisa comes searching for him (without her uncaring mother) the next morning. The owner of the laundromat finds Corduroy in a basket. See, Lisa’s mother, if your child loses a toy you can ask the owner to help you find it. You don’t just LEAVE and pretend like it doesn’t matter.

I hate Lisa’s mother so much right now. I mean, really? The excuse for not looking is that the laundromat is closing soon? SO LAME. If she’d asked the attendant, I’m sure the attendant would have let them stay past closing to look for the bear. And, like I said, it was a lie. The laundromat wasn’t closing.

Perhaps she was trying to teach Lisa a lesson about keeping track of her toys, but we’re given the message that Corduroy is alive. Lisa’s mother should know he could wander off. And even if she thinks he’s inanimate, how is she not worried that he wasn’t stolen or something? It’s not like he was lost in Lisa’s room. He was lost in a public place! And later undressed by a strange man!



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Book WTF: Era Disclaimer

If you were a teenage girl in the 1990s, you probably loved Christopher Pike like I did. If you didn’t, we can no longer be friends. A recent trip to Books-A-Million brought me face to face with the Christopher Pike novel Sati. At first I was excited that there might be a new book, but when I read the back I recognized the story about a girl who claims she is God.

Then I opened the book and found this disclaimer:

Sati was published in the 1980s, and the story reflects that time. Thus there are no cell phones, Internet, or special drug cocktails to combat AIDS. The author had the option of editing this book, but felt it best to leave the tale of Sati’s visit as it was originally written.

My mind was boggled.

This passage implies that young adult readers expect every book to include present day technology. The tone of the disclaimer seems to indicate that the publisher thinks Christopher Pike did the wrong thing by not editing this book.

Since when do previously-published books get edited to include cell phones? I have trouble understanding why the context of the book would not give away the era or the fact that these things didn’t exist. Are today’s teenagers really so stupid that they’d be reading this book questioning the characters for not getting on the internet?

Are they going to start putting disclaimers like this on all books? Are kids opening Little House on the Prairie and wondering why the hell Laura Ingalls is riding in a covered wagon instead of a car?

The very existence of this disclaimer depresses me about what it means the publisher’s think about today’s youth. I’d like to think teenagers these days are smart enough to figure out the book they are reading was written in the past. But maybe I’m too optimistic?

Seriously, WTF?



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Book WTF: One White Horse

This “Sing Along Song” book is in constant use at our house.

But my daughter is really troubled by one of its illustrations.

The illustration for the song “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” is of a girl riding ONE white horse. As the song says, “She’ll be driving SIX white horses when she comes”. Why on earth is there only one horse in this illustration?

I know it’s just representational, but Lily is really bothered by it. She talks about it endlessly. I have on video part of a 20 minute conversation she had on the phone with my mother about how the book has the wrong word. She starts going on about it at about the 34 second mark here, though talked about it much more before I got out the camera.

“No, not six. One! There’s only ONE white horse, right Nonni? We need a new book. This book has the wrong word!” according to Lily.

I showed her a new book in the store and how there’s still only one white horse in it… or that the word is “six” instead of “one” (she can read), but she still thinks there’s a new book out there somewhere that says “She’ll be driving one white horse when she comes”.

Really, the lyrics to this song are extremely well known. It’s ridiculous that they only drew one horse… and had the girl riding the horse instead of driving them from a buggy or wagon or something. WTF, publisher/illustrator?


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