Once in a while I read something that just seems so, well, I don’t know what, but my opinion of it would seem so obvious that writing a caustic (or, less often, constructive) comment just seems redundant. But duty compels me, and so I persevere.
The use of children’s books as educational tools isn’t new, of course. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I do worry that some people believe educational value is the most important component of all children’s books (they should be more than manuals), but I’m sure we all agree on the kinds of things that children’s books should teach, right? Good manners, good citizenship, self-reliance, the importance of a flat tummy and a straight nose and big breasts…. If we use children’s books as educational tools, they’re sometimes going to be used as propaganda, too.
Michael Salzhauer, a Bal Harbor, Florida-based plastic surgeon, has written a children’s book to help parents prepare their kids for mommy’s changed body. And teaching children to cope with their mom’s poor self-image, of course, prepares them to one day have poor self-images of their very own. Touching, isn’t it? From the AP (“Book takes on mommy’s plastic surgery“):
Illustrations show a crook-nosed mom with loose tummy skin under her half shirt picking up her young daughter early from school one day and taking her to a strapping and handsome “Dr. Michael.”
Mom explains she’s going to have operations on her nose and tummy and may have to take it easy for a week or so. The girl asks if the operations will hurt, and mom replies, “Maybe a little,” warning she’ll look different after the bandages come off.
The girl asks: “Why are you going to look different?”
Mom responds: “Not just different, my dear – prettier!”