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The Chocolate Touch and Chocolate Fever-A Book Review

The Chocolate Touch and Chocolate Fever-A Book Review

I love chocolate, in fact I am one of the best-holicsholics you could be around. A chocoholic-which is a term of endearment to describe someone who loves chocolate, and is not picky about the kind of dessert recipes it offers. Though you have to remember, it’s not a very healthy or nutritional kind of food to ingest, it is not as bad as saying getting loaded off Captain Morgan one night and drunk dialing an old ex of yours. But we make do with what life gives us.

But, instead of dealing with drunk dials to friends and exes at 3 in the morning, chocoholics usually deal with getting diabetes. Now, today we are looking at two stories that seem to be so similar you would think they were written by the same author. Or the plots switched back and forth. And these books I am talking about are as follows: “The Chocolate Touch” by Patrick Skene Catling and “Chocolate Fever” by Robert Kimmel Smith.

It’s interesting to note how the two main characters both are young average boys that are only defined by their love of chocolate and candy. Both boys who are named John Midas and Henry Green, the main characters in both of their respective stories. In fact, when I looked back on remembering these books, I got both story lines mixed up, thinking that “The Chocolate Touch” had “Chocolate Fever”‘s plot and vice versa. Lets look at both books and untangle the differences, shall we?

The Chocolate Touch

The general plot line here, is essentially the modernized (or as modernized as 1950s-1970s can give us) child-friendly retelling of the legend of King Midas. Hence, the main character’s last name. Which interestingly enough, is never really brought up even as a throw away joke. The boy has an almost unhealthy obsession with candy, not only eating it over other kind of food but not sharing it with any of his other friends. This book goes hand in hand as not only a lesson about healthy eating, but about selfishness. Right away, you pick up on the moral of the story immediately, although it still happens to be revealed in the back of the book like most moral stories tend to do. The boy’s desire is not lost on the parents, which in a way that differentiates the two stories, the parents are more aggressive in trying to halt their son’s consumption of sweets whereas the other parents seem to take a lackadaisical approach from what it looks like. John’s family become concern when at the dinner table that morning, they discover small dots (which are not explained other than a possibly sign of malnutrition) which prompts them to take him to see the doctor. Dr. Cranium.

So wait, are they going by Comic book logic that the name you are born with automatically determines your career?

The parent attempts to make John Midas eat healthier foods and less chocolate are well-intentioned, by don’t do much good through no fault of their own we learn, as like with any kid, John finds a way to work around their rules. Which bites him back in the butt when he has to swallow down some nasty-tasting vitamin tonic. Hah, that will show him!

The story continues when John finds a coin with a picture of fat kid on one side and the initials J.M on the other. The boy hangs on to it and comes across a candy shop which looks as if it was one of those “It just opened across the street” kind of deals. Adding to an air of mystery and little bit of suspense to entice the impressionable young child-reader. Even more stranger is when the store owner automatically know about John and that the candy he wants to buy is the “exact same currency” as the coin that the boy is holding-making all the pieces fall into place like some big conveniently laced conspiracy to get John Midas to learn a lesson. Though I couldn’t help thinking as I read this how awkward it would have been if another kid entered the store and while standing there with his cash on hand to make a purchase, he sees John Midas and the store owners transaction and gets a tad ticked off that he realizes his cash is no good there. Good as a Aesop McGuffin perhaps, but probably not a good idea in the local business sense. Anyway, the kid buys a box of chocolates from the man with the coin (and no receipt) and goes home to nom on them.

Now if you know the story of King Midas, this is the part where our main character starts to develop the infamous touch that starts to turn his world upside down. At first he enjoys everything he touches turning to chocolate and devouring it (including fluoride flavored chocolate when he tries brushing his teeth) but then it starts causing more trouble for him later on in the chapters. Each detailing the trouble he gets in with his friends, at home, at school, and finally with his own family. As the final straw is when he tries to console his grieving mother and she turns into a chocolate statue kissing her on the cheek. Realizing all this happened the moment he found the coin and brought the chocolate boxes.

Those tasty sweets were just bidding their time....

John runs to the store where he finds him to confront the old man. Who explains to him he was doing this to teach John Midas a lesson, one which understandably he takes it upon himself to basically tell John flat-out to his face, seeing how John is too busy freaking out to even think straight. The storekeeper tells John Midas, that his greed and selfishness for candy was what made him find the coin in the first place as it only can be seen by those are greedy. And the store and the coin, in all it’s magical whimsy, was nothing more than karmic punishment made to teach John Midas a lesson. As well as any other kid that has some problem that can be solved with a magic coin and some old man acting as the curator of Divine Judgement apparently.

Of course, John runs home to find his mother and everything he touched turned back to normal and as everything was before he had his chocolate touch. We are not told what the reaction was of those who personal property John Midas may have previously ruined by turning them into chocolate. But I think we know that when John gets older and gets invited to a party that serves chocolate, I imagine he is going to have one heck of a confectionery PTSD.

Chocolate Fever

This story details Henry Green, who has the same situation as John Midas, but other candy is not involved at this point. He is huge chocoholic as well, but his family seem to be….Strangely easy-going in this department.

In the story, they make no qualm, or concern about Henry Green’s chocolate habit. Not even a gagging sound when in the book it is implied that he goes as far as to put chocolate sauce on his mashed potatoes instead of gravy. His sister calls him a “chocolate freak” and his parents fill the cabinets with every kind of brand and flavored chocolate imaginable. Comparatively to “The Chocolate Touch” this kid’s behavior feels a tad encouraged, whereas the parents were going out of their way to angle their son’s candy addiction. The main plot point/conflict of the story, is that the “little brown spots” that show up on Henry Green are used in the story more effectively than John Midas’s condition, in which the spots are a motivation to take him to the doctor and start his chocolate journey of self-discovery, but are never brought up again in the rest of the chapters. Probably written off as a condition of malnutrition.

In school, Henry Green, notices these strange brown spots on him and the teacher worried it might be something serious takes him to the nurses office thinking they are either measles, scarlet fever, or the chicken pox. As these spots increase the teacher and school nurse immediately take the boy to the hospital. Which makes one beg the question of did anyone think to call the parents and tell them where they were taking their kid?

Yeah, this becomes worrisome later on in the chapters as we will see later.

The spots become more of a focal point. As instead of being tormented by alienating his friends and family with a sweet-tooth ability, Henry Green hits a sense of low self-esteem and damaged dignity as the brown spots cover his body and he emit’s a chocolate-scented body order which some of the minor characters comment about, only in the form of someone asking if they’re drinking chocolate milk or having a snack.

Also the spots make a loud “popping” sound for some reason, which to the book’s credit, actually doesn’t play it straight and in fact, points out that spots popping like a cork screw (that is how the school nurse describes the noise btw) as extremely unusual to the point that it’s unnerving. The condition is a new discovery in the medical community and gains the attention of the press, calling it a highly dangerous and mysterious disease which shatters Henry Green’s happy little world and thinks of himself as a weirdo and freak, unable to take it anymore, he runs away from the hospital and wanders around the city (seriously, did anyone think about calling the parents?) until he comes across a large cargo truck and hides in the backseat. He is found by Mack, a truck driver who luckily for Henry Green is the not the creepy “driving out all alone at night does things to a man’s psyche while picking up underage hitchhiker on the side” type and shares a sandwich with him, more concerned out of the kindness of his heart to take the boy back home to his parents (who are probably tearing the city apart looking for their kid!) then being weirded out about the child’s appearance or concern if the spots are contagious at all. Henry, grateful for Mack’s generosity agrees to let the truck driver take him home.

UNTIL MUGGERS JUMP OUT OF THE BUSHES! OH NOES!

Yeah, two robbers hold Mack and Henry Green hostage playing to take whatever is in the back of the truck to sell for money. Thinking its expensive furs when really its full of candy bars. Coincidence, I think not.

The robbers don’t let them go nor do they ditch their idea and take them back to their hideout. Their plans are thwarted, when people’s dogs (lured by the smell of Henry’s chocolate body order) surround the place barking so loudly outside, one of the robbers opens the door and the dogs ambush them, this distraction causes Mack to break free of his ropes and tackle then tie up the robbers. The dogs lead their owners into the hideout thus having the robbers turned in by the police. There is a scene in which may cause a lot of real-life dog owners today to probably shake their heads and think to themselves, “yeah that is a bad idea” and that is the dogs running up and licking the boy’s face; mind you, smelling of chocolate, but has a skin condition which for all we know, might secrete something akin to chocolate if the spots emit a cocoa odor from his pores. So having those little doggies licking the boy’s face would almost be a death sentence ready to happen. Granted, this was written and published probably beFore they discovered the affect chocolate has on a dog’s system. But still it is one of those moments even in a kid’s book that does make you shake your head and chuckle.

Someone does the smart thing and finally contacts Henry’s parents who are relieved to find him safe and sound, before Mack drops Henry off though, they stop by his distributor and unloads the candy to a candy store owner (described in a more corporate office than the “Mom and Pa shop” from the other story) who he introduces Henry to as Alfred “Sugar” King. Who ends up being the guy that cures Henry, but gives him his lesson as well.

Note: The two stories mirror each other, as both “chocolate conflicts” are only solved by the victim learning a lesson and having it revealed to them. Chocolate Fever, I feel, did a more subtle job of Henry figuring it out himself with a little gentle encouragement from Mr. King. Compared to the lesson being learned at the end in The Chocolate Touch.

Henry, in this story, learns that it’s okay to love things and enjoy them daily. As that is what life is but not to make the best out of the goodness it offers, but too much becomes overwhelming and sometimes we must be sparingly with what we indulge in the most otherwise we become spoiled and hedonistic. Instead of being straight out told this, Mr. Alfred King gives Henry the old “And that young man was me” story, revealing a box of…

Vanilla Pills.

So wait, then this chocolate disease is real in this story’s verse? It was evident that Henry was not the only victim, and chocolate is a largely consumable substance. If there is indication that this disease may very well exist, why is Mr. King keeping the cure for himself?

And does it work vice-versa?

If you had a Vanilla Fever, would chocolate pills be a counteract cure to stave it off?

Just one of the many questions that goes through an inquisitive child’s imagination that will not be solved. Or at least, solved in the book however, as the story wraps up with a happy ending: Henry returns home cured of his karmic chocolate disease, and he learns a lesson. Perhaps, as the parents still off him chocolate, though he turns to cinnamon instead. Another vicious cycle continues?

We will never know

Review and Afterthoughts

Both books as you will obviously notice, rely on the use of chocolate to convey their messages across to children to teach them about the values of selflessness and the downsize to overindulgence in anything that takes the place of real life people and activities. Mostly because chocolate is a widely popular type of treat that is introduced early on to most anyone as a child, and depending on circumstances health-wise, still carry on to adulthood, as they have a lot of versatile resources we have come to love about them. We use them in recipes, as a token of love to others, and as stress-relief.

Children learn about good social skills involving sharing, as well as give-and-take when they have candy on hand. In fact, the first things we tell our kids when they have bags of candy other than “Don’t eat it before supper or you’ll spoil your appetite” is not to eat all of it at once, else you get a stomach ache and to share with their friends and siblings. So naturally, having a book with these morals be about chocolate is understandable and makes sense. But, you still can’t help but feel the similarities outweigh the differences in the story. It wouldn’t be surprising that someone would get the two mixed up by accident.

Both main characters, the boys, really are nothing interesting. Kids can relate to them as being normal kids much like themselves who have a bit of a sweet tooth. But they would be perhaps interested in the situation they are put through, and how they come out of it. Chocolate Fever is more simplified as it is written for younger kids in mind, but is more subtle and realistic in how the child learns its lesson, while for older kids, The Chocolate Touch does come off as having the lesson a bit more contrived and bashes the reader on the head. But still, it gets the job done and the kid at the end of The Chocolate Touch does feel as if he has grown up a little and really had the lesson effect him. Where as subtle as it is with Chocolate Fever, and it does feel refreshing and enlightening to have Henry figure it out himself, you cant help but wonder if maybe the lesson for him will truly stick better to John Midas than it did with Henry Green.

And now if you excuse me, all this talk of chocolate is making me hungry.

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Wow sorry guys.

I know I haven’t been up to date on my book reviews as I would have liked. I won’t make up any excuses for it, to be honest, I have a problem with procrastination at times. Something which I’ve had dealt with alot. Which is not to say that I don’t get other work done.

Sometimes when I am juggling with more than one project I seem to focus on the one project first to the point that I tune out all others. Which is not a good habit I should be developing if I want to do a blog that includes both articles and maybe (I am not saying it’s in the stars) maybe some videos. I know there are a few of you that follow me and it must be frustrating to wait on what the next book review is going to be. Trust me, I have been there as a follower of other people’s work.

So I will get more organized to get some book reviews done.

Thank you for your time and appreciation.

As well as patience.

A Look At The “Choose Your Own Adventure” books

This week, we look into the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.

The most recent memories I had reading them were two books I had discovered in my brother’s room as a kid, one was science fiction and the other was a sword and sorcery story story about elves.

I read them like any other book…that is, until I realized they weren’t like any other books at all. Usually, normal books will go through a linear fashion left to right. Each story, chapter, page number, plot, etc is in an organized step by step order. Whereas, with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories, however, they have a mix and match system.

The major difference will always be the outcome of the story’s plot. A marketable technique in which the reader, in an interactive way, will decide the story’s outcome based on the decisions he or she has made along the way. Much similar to multi-chaptered endings in certain video games, you can either like the ending your character has faced. Or (reset) the story and start over. Maybe wanting to choose the other options as well.

Because the writers of these books, know that children when learning to read, are first taught to read the book beginning to end, on the front of every book will read a warning as follows:

WARNING

“Do not read this book from beginning to end. These pages contain many different adventures that you may have to face (insert who you are pretending to be based on the story’s plot here) From time to time as you read along, you will be asked to make a choice.Your choice may lead to success or disaster.”

“The adventures you have are the results of your choices. You are responsible because you choose! After you make a choice, follow the instructions to see what happens to you next”

“Thank carefully before you make a decision.”

“Good Luck!”

Basically, because you were going to need it. Even if you thought you can work your way out of a scenario or you believed that scenario was the logical choice-nope, it wasn’t sadly.

It still would have been a one-way death trap waiting for you and it was GAME OVER!

But then you could be lucky, and your decision was the right choice. And then rainbows and sunshines for everyone.

These books were a huge best-seller, due to the fact that it allowed the child to interact with the book-they just weren’t limited to imagining themselves in the body of a main character that was pre-made and already had it’s own backstory to fall on written in advance. It was (for the sake of the book’s intentions) a cookie cut-out protagonist following themselves through the hero’s journey. For the first time, they actually were at the driver’s seat, riding the story along making it THEIR adventure, their choice, they were as much as an important part of the plot than the characters major and minor they were reading about.

If there were any comparison to be made, the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were the video game RPGs of the literary world. The old school RPGs where you chose a character: Race, Sex, Age, Profession, Class, etc. Your avatar would walk along interacting with NPCs (non-playable characters) and then, they would walk up to them sometimes with dialogue options where what they say could either screw you over, or you could get some experience points out of it. As well as maybe a quest, items, or a new traveling companion. However, with the books some of the minor characters are already established depending on your alignment and so what you have to do is watch what you say or do to get the desired outcome. Except instead of experience points, it was the satisfaction that your character lived long enough to survive the next page.

At the bottom of the book near the page corners were small little instructions in which you were asked to continue, go to a certain page number, or you came to your two decisions. Maybe a third one if the situation varies.

However, sometimes the book will lose its mystery and suspense if you read it over and over to the point of exhausting it. Despite that, these books are very highly re-readable, as it draws the child-reader in with what other possibilities the other books of the franchise presents itself with. So naturally, the book itself might lose its flavor, but will draw them into checking out other “Choose Your Own Adventure Books” and the best part is that a lot of those stories come in different ranges to fit every child’s taste and interest. From Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror, Real-life situations, Romance, Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Western; you will probably won’t find a subject that hasn’t been covered in these kind of books.

Well, maybe except erotica fiction, but I doubt it wouldn’t be anymore interesting than “If you think the condom broke panic and turn to page 14” or “To switch positions turn to page 78”. Though with the ongoing popularity of Erotic novels hitting our bookstores recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a adults-only choose your own adventure book with Fifty Shades of Grey. That would be a laugh.

Even Disney and R.L Stine got on the wagon with their own “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories. With the book adapted Disney movies and “Choose Your Own Nightmare.”

There were a few others for Star Wars and Star Trek franchise as well as The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Now, the books have a lot going for them. Unique concept, interactive characterization, and a cornucopia of endings of different degrees that will make flipping the pages forwards, backwards, and forwards again seem like they’re worth it. But, there are a few flaws, although nothing serious that has held them back in popularity. Though, these have certainly not been overlooked and may come up eventually in conversations about these stories.

One, is the constant page flipping, depending on how long you intend to go at the story, if you want to take a break and go off to do something else, you might find it hard to know where you left off once you come back to the story. I had this happen on occasion, as I was learning to meander through this strange new concept, as your bookwormish mind is naturally taught to pick up where you left off with you relying on the continuity of the book to keep you focused.

Not necessarily with these kind of books. Because they are not written as straightforward, so its not uncommon at first that you may tend to screw up and get lost from time to time.

But, what seems to help is certain trial and error, as once you get familiar with all the story options, and how these kind of books work, you will find the one that you have previously selected and continue on without any trouble at all.

Another flaw is a small one, but nothing that really can be fixed. As two to three different story options will be back to back in the book, you might be clued in on an important decisions outcome or twist just by seeing it in the next page or while you are thumbing through it. So an ending or as I like to call it “a death trap” (where you get a bad outcome that traps or kills your character off) will be revealed and then you will no doubt avoid it. Therefore, it will ruin the suspense.

But, I think the writers were banking on the short-attention span of some their readers in the beginning to work around this first problem, now I think they may have gotten better about concealing the endings to keep children from accidentally finding them. Hence, spoiling the surprise.

One thing the writers did when it came to endings was add “trick endings”, or “endings that came on a loop” so you could go back if you didn’t like one ending and choose another one. Something you would never get with any run of the mill young adult book.

The books don’t really have any stated moral or lesson to be derived from, as like with their genres the story will vary from time to time so there wouldn’t be any way a moral would slip through unless it was done subtly. But, I think one of the lessons any child at any age reading them will probably pick up, is the importance of how their actions will not only affect them but those around them. As they are in charge of the story, any decisions they make have them responsible for how they will concede to the story’s plot. Will they fix the problem? Will they assist the bad guy or the good guy? Will they do the right thing or will they do the wrong thing-and if so what are the consequences.

It works because it is not TELLING the child-reader straight out in black and white, but they are actually performing this lesson, experiencing it first-hand, and which will carry on with them more in the long run, probably better than someone hitting the lesson over the head with a hammer and not knowing why it should be applied in their own life.

Another great thing about these books, is that it does more to heighten (or even create) the child’s imagination and sense of curiosity. Even if they skim through the pages once, they will still be engrossed in the story and eager to know what happens to their character next, whether that character will live or die. They want to know the outcome and determined to see it through. A positive trait for children to learn at a young age. As such, these books are recommended at a young age when children are their most imaginative and inquisitive.

If buying one of those books for your child, pick one that is more suited to THEIR interests and taste, as it will make it easier for them to get into the role-playing aspect of the story if it’s something they have an extreme fascination for. It will help with making it enjoyable for them in regards to re-readability

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Hi everyone, well, due to regulations beyond our control, we will not be celebrating Easter on April or May this year. Because its ending up sharing a month with St. Patrick’s Day.

"Hey! We're Roommates! But why are we speaking english on a spanish calender?"

“Hey! We’re Roommates! But why are we speaking english on a spanish calender?”

Which is why I thought it would be appropriate to write a review of an children’s book about a bunny-while wearing something green.

This may or may not be a dramatization of something green I am wearing.

This may or may not be a dramatization of something green I am wearing.

Okay, now that I have gotten those two things out of the way, we will look at a children’s picture book “The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown.

Who you would also know from another famous book of hers called “Goodnight Moon”

It’s a simple heart-warming tale, with a deep and emotional message about a mother’s love for her children. Which, is a series of back and forth good-humor bickering, that make up the entirety of the book between the baby bunny and its mother.

Still a better book about mother-child relations than "I Will Love You Forever" and not without the ladder and truck driving late at night.

Still a better book about mother-child relations than “I Will Love You Forever” and not without the ladder and truck driving late at night.

The Story

The story characters are only two: A baby bunny who wants to run away (seemingly for no discerning reason) and it’s mother who thwarts its attempts with passive, hypothetically, imaginative ways as we come to find out as we read along.

“I am going to run away” Says the little bunny
“If you run away,” says his mother,”I will run after you, for you are my little bunny.”

-The Runaway Bunny

And then story continues down in a “What If” scenario, which entices and enchants the reader as it goes. The bunny starts by stating that he will be a fish, and then we see the next page with the mother bunny wearing fishing gear and stating that she will fish for the little bunny, using carrot as bait, of course.

Here fishy fishy fishy

Here fishy fishy fishy

The bunny next says that if the fishing thing didn’t work, he will turn into a rock on the highest mountain, for there is no way that little sure-footed bunnies can climb to the very top of mountains. Ha ha!

But nope, his mommy will become a bunny-mountaineer and climb that mountain, after swimming every stream to still be his mommy. The bunny doesn’t give up as each little situation gets more and more outlandish; the bunny’s mother finds way to counter-act her son.

Turning into the wind-

Do not cross Typhoon Bunny!

Into a tree to catch the flying baby bunny-

“Look out for that rabbit-shaped tree!” D:

And last but not least-

“EEEP! NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WOULDN’T BE A NET UNDERNEATH THIS THING!”

When the baby bunny says that he will run away to join the circus, like what kid hasn’t said they will do that?

Then we come to the finale of the book-

“I will become a little boy and run into a house” Says the Little Bunny.
“If you become a little boy and run into a house, than I will become your mother and catch you in your arms and hug you.”

“Does this old-fashioned 1920s house-dress make my butt look big?”

“Shucks,” said the bunny,”I might as well just stay where I am and be your little bunny.”
And so he did.
“Have a carrot.” said the mother bunny.

Yay! Crisis averted!

Carrots for Everyone!

The Review and Afterthoughts

There is nothing much to say really that hasn’t already been said about this book. Continuing in the traditions of classic stories like “Goodnight Moon” “The Color Kittens” “Scuppers The Sailor Dog” “When The Wind Blew” and many others. Seeing the beautiful combination of black and white artistry and fully colored illustrations, it’s no surprised that this book of a mother’s love for her child in rabbit form has been a popular bedtime story for generations next to its cousin “Goodnight Moon”. Spawning countless affectionate parodies, homages, references, and still remains to be a popular best seller even to this day. Books that focus on storylines where the mother notes how much and most importantly how far her love for her child goes are popular stories because of the familiar wholesome connection and safe environment it gives off. Giving children reading it an excellent reminder and reaffirmation of being loved by the women who birthed them, but no in a way that insults their intelligence or comes completely out of left thing in a patronizing way.

So why does a book like “The Runaway Bunny” spared from the most intellectual cynicism while a book like “I Will Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch will be joked about and humored behind closed doors as being “creepy and dark” in disguised as a children’s book?

Well, based off my own experience reading the book itself, there may be some debatable discrepancy as to the actions of the mothers in both books.

In The Runaway Bunny, it is established that the mother in her sweet nature, is humoring the child and that most of her attempts as appearing as silly as possible, were meant to be imaginative on purpose. She appears, in modern terms, to be humoring the child along and saying “Oh yeah and then what?” gently challenging her child, but at the same time, it comes off that she is not upset but gently ribbing the child into giving up on his own and deciding that mom is a pretty okay person after all.

In I Will Love You Forever, we have our mother in this book who is still a kind, gentle, nurturing woman to her son. She sings to him and reminds him since he was first held in her arms, that no matter what, she will be his baby and she will love him. Okay, that is not bad, after all it is important in early days of infancy for that mother and child to have a close bonding with each other, and the mother shows it by singing a special song to her son and rocking him. You can’t argue its a sweet and touching scene that will make you tear up and she always repeats this mantra to her son….at night. Every night while he is asleep. However, when you continue reading “I Love You Forever” and compared it to “The Runaway Bunny” book, you kinda note how very different these two are. And it seems as if the Mother Rabbit is more grounded to reality than the human mother. Who, even when the child is a grown adult and living on his own, will she still drive out in the middle of the night carrying a ladder and will still crawl into his bedroom at night and rock him to sleep.

Without considering the fact that maybe he already has someone sharing the bed with him. Like a wife perhaps?

“Quick little kitten! Go get help! GO GET HELP!”


Just imagine how awkward in real life that would be?

The book sounds and looks all well and find, don’t get me wrong, but when it gets up to the point where the mother is basically using a ladder to climb into the grown son’s bedroom at night to cradle him to sleep….

That was where suspension of disbelief decided to go take a cruise.

Here, with “The Runaway Bunny” there is no passage of time to show us that the mother bunny would always love her baby. We are shown not told that she would through examples in terms an imaginative child would understand and appreciate. In the here and now, their relationship will proceed to be stronger and healthier than it was before. Even when we (the reader) never can figure out why the baby bunny just decided he wanted to run away that day in the beginning of the story (maybe he was upset, wanted attention, didn’t feel loved by his mom for some reason, had an adventurous streak in him) we still know that the bond between them is for real.

There is honestly no reason why any kind would not enjoy this book, I would recommend this book for children ages 5-7 since it seems to fit in the simplicity of their reading comprehension level and find eye candy in the colorful artwork and message of the story. Particularly, given the characters a book for both Easter reading and a bedtime story.

Oh and don’t worry, we will go more in-depth into the book “I Will Love You Forever” later on.

Top Five Most Gruesome Deaths in the Redwall Book Series

The Redwall books are children stories written by Brian Jacques, which were a collection of adventures set around a medieval world where mice, rabbits, moles, hedgehogs, badgers, certain species of birds, squirrels and otters lived, worked, and played within an imaginary monastery called RedWall Abby. These list of animals were most notably the protagonistic creatures that were on the side of Lawful/Neutral Good. The heroes, adventurers, protectors, and guardians of innocence. And on the side of Chaotic/Lawful/Neutral Evil were the “vermin” aptly named so: Rats, Ferrets, Weasels, Mink, Foxes; animals that were known to be predators and scavengers as the antagonistic creatures.

"Lets go on a violent bloody adventure you guys! Redwall!"

“Lets go on a violent bloody adventure you guys! Redwall!”

My only gripe was that they portrayed foxes as the evil side, but maybe it’s just because they were my favorite animal. So naturally I had a tendency to have some of my favorite characters be both foxes and villains. The major themes that are explored in each book are as follows: Bravery, Courage, Fighting against Injustice, Standing up for what you believe in, and the importance of working together and helping your friends out. Very positive themes for young children to read in these stories. But what some may not tell you is in the attempts to punish the villain’s wrong-doing may have them met their maker in the most darkest ways possible. What you may not know is that some of these death scenes can be kinda graphic-not graphic in a “giallo” sort of way, but if you actually imagine these deaths occurring to the characters it might make you flinch a little bit, and to a book geared towards children mind you.

So, here we are to honor the darker aspects of my favorite book series, with the top five gruesome death scenes.

Enjoy.
——————————————————————-

Number Five: Mattimeo
Victim: Slagar/Chickenhound
Cause of Death: Falling into a well thereby either dying a slow and agonizing death or being buried alive.

At the end of the book Mattimeo, after Matthias along with his friends, allies, and the escaped child slaves leave Malkaris, a vengeful and angry Slagar The Cruel emerges from a hole (which looks to be a well embedded into the ground) and after doing the standard “I am gonna fuck everything up” villain speech, he takes a huge rock and is about to crush their mousey little heads in when the weight of the rock causes him to teeter backwards down into the well shaft.

"This is what happens when the cross-dressing tranny from Rocky Horror Picture Show voices you!"

“This is what happens when the cross-dressing tranny from Rocky Horror Picture Show voices you!”

Now, imagine for that brief moment, you were one of those creatures peering down into the well. It’s probably about a good twenty to thirty feet deep fall you got there. So you would be falling endlessly, or if there was a bottom, the fall alone would either kill you or break a lot of bones in your body. So, if you did end up alive, you would have a broken leg, or arm and be unable to climb back out. Also, take in mind that he was holding a huge heavy boulder, and when he fell he was still gripping onto the thing meaning that it was more likely he had crushed himself to death with that boulder when it feel on top of him, contributing more to the first idea of broken bones or a smashed in head. Even worse, he was would have been laying injured in there (and by leap of logic he did end up surviving the fall) and unless any one of those “sweet and innocent” little animals offered to help him out of there or throw a rope. He would be down there slowly starving to death in his own tomb.

Yeah, they don’t mention that in the sweet and happy TV series on PBS don’t they?

~*~

Number Four: The Pearls of Lutra
Victim: Conva
Cause of Death: Possible Defenestration/Debatable Suicide

Yikes! Now I am sure that it can be said that the medieval times that the writer was trying to emulate within his storybook world was not all fairy-tales and butterflies. People were murdered and tortured in horrifying ways back in those days. But I think what takes the cake in the implication of someone taking their own life in a Redwall book series.

The story’s main villain is a mink named Ublaz Mad-Eyes, who apparently has the ability to hypnotize his victims. One of his captains, a stoat named Conva, is sent to retrieve six rose-pink pearls that were taken within Mossflower woods by a weasel named Graylunk, who does not get very far and dies before he could sell them for weed or something. Graylunk took refuge in Redwall Abby apparently and unable to retrieve the pearls, Conva returns to the Isle of Sampetra empty-handed.

This does not make Ublaz a happy baddie.
Ublaz interrogate Conva and when it revealed that he had failed Ublaz, the pine martin asks him to stare into his eyes and the next scene shows the stoat taking a flying leap out of a window.

Now, that is what I call intense, whether you or not you think Ublaz Mad-Eyes did have the power to control people (er cute little woodland creatures) with his eyes, you have to admit throwing someone out of a window is as brutal as it can get. And we’ve only scratched the surface here. If you will recall, the location of Ublaz’s master palace, he has his castle alongside a dock and seaside. Well, that is not a problem I mean, whether he committed suicide or was willed into leaping out of that window, there was water underneath, it wasn’t like Slagar, where you hard sharp ground to

Oh wait.

"Look out below" CRUNCH!

“Look out below-” CRUNCH!

Still, the most disturbing aspect is whether or not this was defenestration or suicide. Lets look at the dictionary term for “Defenestration” shall we?

de·fen·es·tra·tion [dee-fen-uh-strey-shuhn] Show IPA
noun
the act of throwing a thing or especially a person out of a window: the defenestration of the commissioners at Prague.
Origin:
1610–20; de- + Latin fenestr ( a ) window + -ation

If Ublaz didn’t physically throw Conva out of the window to the sharp rocks below. Then its possible that he could have put the idea into Conva’s head to take his own life. And seriously, how disturbing is that I ask you?

~*~

Number Three: The Bellmaker
Victim: Urgan Nagru
Cause of Death: Bludgeon to the head by dull fangs

If you’ve stomach it this far, you probably see a pattern with many of these gory death scenes. The victims are all villains. Particularly the main villains. In what can be described as a sense of justice to many of their dirty-dealings and evilness, I put this one on the list since it is kinda an instant death, but still very horrible way to die. In The Bellmaker, one of the main bosses is named Urgan-Nagru, and is considered a “fox-wolf” (not that he is the result of a vixen and a wolf getting it on) but named for the armor he wears the shed fur of a dead wolf. Considering that almost all of the animals in the Redwall series are in a way sentient athro-characters with humanistic lives and emotions. There is no way to tell for sure that this wolf that is being worn by this fox was once a living breathing wolf with thoughts, feelings, family, emotions, and was mercilessly skinned alive, or that it was already dead. With all these instances attached and Urgan-Nagru pretty much went Ed Gein on this poor creature. It’s hard to say at this point.

"Leatherface wishes he could be this badass!" -while scratching his fleas

“Leatherface wishes he could be this badass!” -while scratching his fleas

This takes place during the battle for Castle Floret. One of the shrews dies from a knife in the back by gran’s wife Silvamord, (thought to be honest is was his own fault-finding her and then letting his guard down by turning his back to her without checking to see if she had a weapon or not-after all, what was the worst that could have happened?) The Badger Finnbarr Galedeep during an intense battle with Urgan-Nagru uses his mighty strength to rain pain down and slam the top of the wolf’s skull into the fox’s head, technically causing the fangs and sharp teeth of the head ornament to pierce through the skull of Urgan’s own head and thereby piercing the brain killing him instantly.

~*~

Number Three: Redwall
Victim: Sela The Fox-Healer
Cause of Death:Being stabbed repeatedly and left to die in a ditch.

Sela is a fox healer and the mother of Chickenhound, which you may remember from Number five on the list. Her story is pretty sad but also a cautionary tale of greed and the outcome of backstabbing people.

While being a part-time healer, Sela also spied for both sides of the battle. She stole plans while healing Cluny The Scourge to give to The Abby, but then turned around and told what their plans of attack were to Cluny’s soldiers. She basically didn’t care whose side she was on as long as she got what she wanted out of it. But unfortunately, the vulpine-gypsy luck was going to run out. Actually, what makes this death so interesting was that there were two versions in the book and in the TV series.

In the TV series: Sela was thrown out of the Abby after she was caught stealing by an old mouse named Methuselah (her son saved face by clocking him over the head with a long calandra) as punishment for her crimes she was thrown to Cluny and in an interesting concept to get around the brutal violence and bloodshed the book had been killed off-screen by a sword. Judging by the sound effects, I would wager a decapitation.

In the book however, Sela was caught eavesdropping by Cluny and his soldiers, and therefore her and her son were executed by being stabbed by spears repeatedly in a ditch and left for dead. Now, when people mention that “someone was left to die” it’s usually an icing on the cake for how far a death scene gets to be dark and gruesome. If we read the chapter where it happens, and imagine that a million spear heads stabbed into Sela’s body, its safe to say they may have missed some vital organs that would instantly kill her, therefore, having her bleeding slowly in a ditch or she would be dead and left to be feasted upon by crows would mess up any kid who happen to see that and would probably turn to a life of crime and child slavery as a result.

"If it's all the same to you, I would rather be beheaded thanks."

“If it’s all the same to you, I would rather be beheaded thanks.”

Chickenhound’s is not much better, he was found hours later alive and still surviving his stab wounds. He just pretended to be dead so he could escape. Imagine if they actually buried those two six feet under. Set your goosebumps on chill folks.

~*~

Number Two: Mossflower
Victim: Tsarmina Greeneyes
Cause of Death Drowning

Now you maybe asking yourself, “Chris, you crazy bitch, drowning maybe a horrible way to die but it’s not gory or graphic as the other lists which you mentioned” True, but in the book, Tsarmina had terrifying nightmares of dying in water. Almost to the point that it was driving her a bit mad. Imagine being plagued with hours after hours of dying in a watery grave unable to swim or sink under reaching the surface and call for help?

Coupled by the fact that in her fear, she drives right into the water willingly at the end of the book to get away from Martin The Warrior. It is actually a very terrifying ending to a villainess, having nightmares about the worst possible way you can die being one thing, but then when that moment comes that you are about to commit the same act of death that has terrified you and you may not even realize it yet. That is enough to make you shiver.

Just imagine how Tsarmina must have suddenly snapped out of it only to discover that she was drowning to death in her own watery grave.

~*~

Number One Redwall
Victim(s): Half of Cluny’s army
Cause of Death Being burned alive by hot boiling water while being buried under a pile of panicking comrades

Yeah, it pretty much says it all you need to hear right there. During one of the many invasion scenes in Redwall, Cluny’s forces planned on entering through the Abby through a series of tunnels they dug themselves, however, they are stopped when Constance Badger, the Abbess of the monastery along with Basil Staghare pour a huge cauldron of boiling water into the tunnel scalding the rats. The ones watching some of their comrades being boiled alive would no doubt panic and run the other way only to find that a huge boulder would be placed in their way trapping them in. And if you have read or seen groups of people in an enclosed space scrambling to escape in these said enclosed areas you can see how gruesome that can be. Now have those same people equip with weapons, sharp teeth, claws and a bloodthirsty disposition and you have yourself a genuine mass death scene right there. All for little children to read about.

And innocent little teddy bears…

"Oh the terrors!"

“Oh the terrors!”

Makes it no wonder that Cluny the Scourge has a mind-damaging nightmare of it as a result. Seeing that would make any vicious warlord break down and cry like a baby.

And there you have it. Don’t let it stop you from reading the books, in fact, think of them as a reflection of the atrocities of medieval battle brought to life by cute furry woodland creatures. It sort of gave the books a bit of a darker, edgier “young adult” feel, and didn’t make you think you were reading a cutesy animal book.

Happy readings.

Book Review – Shiloh

One of the most important things someone will tell you when you write a story is “write what you know”. And it is basically true, a writer takes life-experiences and the feeling generated from these life experiences and puts them down on paper, as either a testimonial to what they went through, or to piece together their own understanding of the situation in a therapeutic light.

The latter is how we came upon the book “Shiloh” written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Shiloh

She came up with the idea for the book when upon visiting friends in West Virginia, Naylor and her husband came upon an ill, mistreated, sickly dog which haunted her conscience until finally writing the book based on that dog. Unlike the dog in the story though, a loving family adopted that dog Naylor and her husband found and named it Clover. Now getting back to the book at hand; sitting down, you think it is your proto-typical midwestern “boy and his dog” book, which are also the same thread you find in other books like “Where The Red Fern Grows” and “Sounder”.

And you would be right. They tend to follow the same dark, gritty, Appalachian-themed tones design to challenge young readers with its emotional and social dilemmas of judeo-christian decision-making. How good and honest should you really be to save someone and in the attempt to save that person’s life, lying and stealing can still be considered justifiable if the intent is pure and good?

Let’s take a look into the story and find out.

The Story

Chapter One of the book starts off around the family dinner table where Marty, our main character and protagonist, is eating dinner with his family of roasted rabbit that his father shot. The father is a hunter, (other than what they do career-wise for a living is never mentioned for some reason nor that is it ever explained) and properly has given his son training and rules not just about handling shooting rifles, but the rules regarding hunting regulations in West Virginia.

This is important later on in the story.

The children Marty, his sister Dara Lynn and Becky, are picking at the meal despite their mother’s disgust. Lovely still, while they are sitting around eating the rabbit the topic of dinner conversation is whether or not the rabbit’s head was shot clean off. Well, I guess it’s better than eating rabbit AFTER helping gut and clean the things. Believe me I know.

After dinner, Marty goes out to take a walk around the forest when he comes across the dog (unnamed for the moment) along the old Shiloh Schoolyard. Therefore, is where the reader gets where the name came from. Marty sees that right away the dog is skittish and starved from lack of food. Not to mention cuts and bruises on the dog. Almost at once, Marty looks upon the dog with pity and boom-the friendship between the All-American genetic kid and cute little dog is cemented.

Later on in the story, both the main characters and the reader discover that the dog Shiloh is owned by no other than the “antagonist” Judd Trevors an alcoholic man who abuses his hunting dogs. With the target audience for this book not just animal-lovers but dog lovers especially, you right away hate this man and hope he dies a slow painful death.

In fact, the next two books: Saving Shiloh and Shiloh Seasons, were due to responses from children who were upset that Judd Trevors was not punished for his crimes of animal cruelty and that it felt like he had gotten away with so much.

More on that later.

Chapter Two and Three introduce us to Judd Trevors, and set up the conflict at hand for our main protagonist. The father, although knowing full well Shiloh is being abused, takes him back to Trevors stating that it is not their dog and therefore they have no right to keep it from him.

Marty knows that not only is Shiloh being mistreated, but the other hunting dogs as well, however, one of the obstacles that keeps Marty from doing the right thing to challenge the character’s story arc is that their society has a condition of not getting involved in issues that don’t concern them, no matter how unlawful it may seem. Now this sort of thing is not at all uncommon particularly in small towns, where in some situations it’s an ideal thing. Don’t get caught up in drama. But here is the thing I always wondered, maybe it is a different time and place than when I was a kid, but in real life anyone suspected of animal abuse and cruelty would be turned over by the police, if there is clear-cut evidence of abuse being given. Much like it is for elderly and child abuse. So why not turn Trevors in to the police or heck, even the local sheriff?

There may be no Animal Control to investigate, but it is still a criminal penalty even though you do own that said pet or animal.

Heck, that is what I kept thinking was going to happen at the end of the story. But I guess that is why it’s considered fiction and not non-fiction. Keep in mind, this may be the sort of thing a young adult reader might think about when reading this book in today’s world.

Marty wants Shiloh, because he knows that Shiloh would be better in the hands of him than a drunk redneck like Judd Trevors. But being that the family is poor, the kid has not enough money to buy the dog from him. That is when after another bought of abuse, Shiloh escapes and goes to the only human that had ever loved and cared about him: Marty. Marty, this time makes a small wire pen and hides Shiloh out there sneaking in scraps of food from the dinner table to feed to the poor little beagle. The mother discovers where the leftovers have been disappearing too but agrees to keep Marty’s secret. However that night, a stray German shepherd wanders in and injures Shiloh, thus exposing Marty’s attempts to lie and deceit his way to protecting the dog.

Notice the irony of Marty worrying about Shiloh dying from the hands of abusive Judd Trevors, and yet his attempt to protect Shiloh lands the dog in the hospital. Where another character Doc Murphy is introduced. The Town Doctor. Who really has no experience working surgery on an animal which makes this part of the book a crucial moment for the reader, as they wonder whether Shiloh will miraculously live, or die because he is not getting the proper medical treatment he would otherwise get at a veterinary clinic.

Don’t worry, Shiloh lives, but Marty is now in deep trouble with his father after he finds out all that time his son was hiding Shiloh from Judd. And Marty realizes that he must return Shiloh or at least attempt to get a part-time job to raise the money to pay for his bills. As Marty heads over to Judd’s house, he sees the man shoot a doe out of season, which means Judd will have to pay a fine he can’t afford. Marty blackmail Judd Trevor into letting him work on his farm enough hours to pay for buying Shiloh in exchange for not turning him in. Trevors complies and despite after a while the contract between them becoming null and void, Marty continues to work on the farm and Judd eventually warms up to him, revealing his tragic back story that when he was a kid he was physically abused by his own father, and which is why he acted the way he did. Not only did Marty save the life of an abused animal, but also saved an abuser from going down the path of self-destruction.

Review and After Thoughts

There are many reasons why Shiloh is considered a classic, during a time in the nineties where children’s entertainment focused on the more traditional good v evil motifs to keep them excited, this book offers a more complex realistic story and a plot that many kids who have had pets or wanted pets may relate too. The dialogue is simple with its country dialect that some criticize is not authentic to West Virginia and complain that it is silly and inaccurate. But once you get past the dialogue and focus on the characters interactions with one another you get to the juicy meat of what the story is really about.

Animal Abuse is a serious crime and those who commit it I have no respect for, which is why it was easy for a lot of children to see Judd Trevors as the villain that they wish gotten what he deserved, but little what this story does is teach children that sometimes that is not always the easy choice. Sometimes the villains are more than what we perceive and in the case involving abuse it opens their eyes into how muddled the pattern of abuse-abuser becomes. And unlike other stories with bad guys who are just written as bad guys for the sake of being something for the good guy to fight. We get something more from the villain in this story and realize he is not really bad but not misunderstood either.

The parents of Marty have their part in his conflicted moral story. One-the mother: serving on the side of God’s law of truth and honesty, and the father: stern in his right-wing morals but does so because of his love for his son and wants to encourage him to the right thing within reason. Marty does not take one side over the other nor he is unbiased between them. He balances and uses their advice both in consideration to decide what he should do in Shiloh’s best interest. And even when he feels that one is unclear and the other is shady. He doesn’t put the blame on his parents. Which is something that kids can take away from the book.

If your child doesn’t find the whole “boy from a rural backwoods state and his dog” story dull and predictable, the animal-lover in them will like this book for its complex characters, heartwarming story, and a moral that makes them think and challenge their intellectual problem-solving skills.

Book Review – Doctor De Soto by William Steig

Almost anyone can tell you a horror story involving the dentist, how they felt terrified and that the man behind the surgical facemask and plastic white gloves was like a medieval torturer from a macabre fairytale. With his hands in your mouth, touching the sensitive gums with hooked wires and instruments with the most ear-splitting horrific noises. And you feared for your innocent teeth.

Or if you had a dentist like mine who you loved to talk with and could talk your ear off over episodes of The Simpsons (back when it was good) that is okay too.

After all, it could be worse, you could have Corbin Bernsen’s character from that movie “The Dentist” with his drill and anesthetic. Or to a more extreme extent: The Dentist from the movie “Marathon Man.” asking you,  “Is It Safe?” *Bzzzzzzt*

But, in this book, we get a different alternative, where this book asks us to sympathize and worry for the dentist instead of the patient. The book is “Doctor De Soto” written by William Steig; who is known for other books such as Abel’s Island, The Amazing Bone, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and Shrek! (a book which is basis for the popular movie series of the same name) these stories of which we will look at later on down the line.

mouse

The story is about a mouse and his wife who own a dental clinic for animals. And their attempt to treat a fox who likes to eat mice.

The Story

Doctor De Soto lives in a world where animals walk upright, talk, dress, work, and act like human beings. This sort of concept in literature and media is not uncommon and referred to as anthropomorphic animals.

Using animals to act on behalf of human personas was not a relatively uncommon practice in storytelling. Dating back to the olden days, the most common example of anthropomorphic animal stories were that of Aesop’s fables and Uncle Remus Tales. Children would be both entertained and learn the morals of these stories, being more in tune with the whimsical nature of the animal characters than if these morals were committed by ordinary human beings. This kind of thinking continues onto this day, usually taking on different forms in separate occasions of not just children’s stories, but various animated movies and cartoons shows as well. Used for both educational and entertainment allegorical resources that still remain to this day.

The mouse-dentist works in a dental office with his wife who is his assistant. Together they work with animals of different shapes and sizes with a combination of a special reclining chair and a series of pulleys to manuever around the mouths of larger animals. Now when I say they treat animals it seems (dare I say it) they seem “discriminatory” with their practices it feels, as they will refuse services to those whose diet consists of mice. Now when I was younger and I watched the animated short in my kindergarten classroom, I thought it wasn’t really fair when a fox arrived complaining of a bad tooth and being turned away because of the foxes reputation to eat mice.

Now granted it does sound like a safety procedure to the employees who are mice in this case, but still it does seem almost prejudice that the mouse does not want to treat the fox’s tooth ache nor does he refer him to another dental clinic where he could be treated. Is this the only time this has happened, is it an unfortunate implication of other standard business practices for prey animals to do in this world?

One wonders what kind of discriminatory suit would follow in a world like this, does the same thing happen to getting a job, a house, heck even owning property maybe in this clustered inter-segregated world of both hunter and prey animals?

Deer: *sitting in an office giving a job interview to a wolf* Sorry Mr. Wolf I can’t hire you on the grounds that you are carnivore and might eat our customers.

Wolf: But I have been rabbit-free for twenty-five years and made parole, and you’re not hiring because of what you think I MIGHT do!?!? I WILL SEE YOU IN COURT! MY ATTORNEY WILL HEAR FROM YOU!

Deer: You mean the badger?

Wolf: Yeah!

Deer: …..crap.

But, at the behest of his wife, Dr. De Soto agrees to come around and offer assistance to the fox, and fix his bad tooth. Dr. De Soto examines the tooth and finds that it needs to be fixed with a new one, so to remove the old bad tooth, he puts the fox under and as he works on him the fox starts talking in his sleep saying that he wants to eat them but it wouldn’t do seeing how they are helping him in the first place. When the fox comes too they tell him to go home and come back to the office tomorrow to get his brand new tooth.

Dr. De Soto regrets ever helping the fox in the first place but his wife, ever the calming voice of reason, reassured him that the anesthesia might have been to blame, since the fox had no idea he was talking out loud about eating them in the first place so gets to work creating the false tooth for the surgery tomorrow.

After all, who hasn’t said something embarrassing in their sleep?

Dr. De Soto almost becomes sort of reluctant hero, he is worried for the safety of his wife and other mouse employees but at the same time he would be in fear of breaking his Hippocratic oath if he turns away the toothache fox. His only bet is to play it by ear and wait until the fox returns to his next appointment for the surgery.

The middle of the story is intense (as was the animated short admittedly) as we see the De Sotos work on the tooth surgery and insert the new tooth, but shock and dull surprise instead of making the story turn out to have the fox not eat them and let it be a lesson about judging someone before getting the full story or jumping to conclusions, the fox decides to bite the hands that fixed his toothache and try to eat them.

But it looks like they’ve prepared this little betrayal, since during the surgery, Dr. De Soto puts mouth glue all over the fox’s teeth so that they would get stuck together and the fox couldn’t trap them inside his jaws. And with the fox running away with his tail between his legs and at least without a tooth ache, the dentist and his wife decide to close up the clinic and take the day off. With his wife replying that she will never again disagree of arguing against his policy of refusing hostile animals.

The Review And Aftermath

Is it that bad a story, no not really, it has its questionable situations but presents more of a gray morality line. True, on one hand most doctors and physicians in real life wouldn’t turn away anyone inflicted by whatever circumstances would arise. But on the other hand, it may be a question that will one day come up in surgery. If the patient has been known to have done criminal wrong in his life, can he refuse him or let him die?

But this is a children’s story and it doesn’t ask children to ask these tough questions, but it does at least acknowledges that through this story there is no right or wrong answers. What Dr. De Soto did was mean to turn away the fox in the first place and refuse him help, but the fox was also in the wrong to try to turn on his dentist and wife AFTER the operation. So what does this mean when the next animal wants to come in that has been known to eat mice expecting dental care, we will never know.

It is a cute little story, and with its plot as such, it provides an interesting obstacle and challenge to the main characters that will make the child-reader interested in seeing how it ends and what will become of whose involved. If you’re child is one of those that is interested in animal stories with a gray moral plotline check this out as well as other William Steig books.

Calender

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