The Kiddy Pool: The Viral Dog and the Unattainable Donkey

My elder daughter wants a donkey for a pet. “Don’t you think a donkey would like me, Mama?” she asked.“Of course!” I replied. “What’s not to like?” Then I tried to explain how much donkeys eat, and how we have a very small yard with close neighbors. And we have two cats who might not like being displaced by yet another creature.But we have a yard in front and in back, she insisted. So really, the donkey ought to be grateful, as am I, that my children are too young for Facebook, too shelte … [Read more...]

Iván Fernández Anaya’s Virtuous Victory

As Lance Armstrong prepares his confessional and public relations rehab tour (after getting caught, of course), the story of Basque runner Iván Fernández Anaya feels like a breath of fresh air. Anaya was running in second place, with no chance for victory, when he realized that the first-place athlete had accidentally stopped before the finish line. He caught up to leader Abel Mutai and guided him to the end, maintaining their respective positions before the incident occurred.As journalist C … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Childhood Innocence Up in Smoke

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture. "Where most Americans see a juxtaposition of purity and corruption, one that offends our sensibilities, those views of children and smoking are not shared everywhere around the world." I remember eating candy cigarettes when I was a kid. It was a stick of bubblegum, with sugar powder in the wrapper, so you could blow out the powder and pretend to smoke. These candies … [Read more...]

Giddy over Gaiman’s Chu’s Day

It arrived in the mail yesterday, the plain brown cardboard disguising the school-bus-yellow book jacket underneath. On the cover, an adorably goofy panda with aviator goggles and, emblazoned in bold text, the names of two of my favorite authors: Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex. A preschooler's book written by Gaiman (whose entire corpus I love) and illustrated by Rex (whose talents are best displayed in the charmingly silly and unexpectedly profound The True Meaning of Smekday). This is gonna be good, … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: The Princess Paradox

"While I appreciate the concept behind the Christian princess, Scripture doesn't talk about God’s children as princes or princesses." As the mother of two little girls (and none of us live under rocks), I’ve been mulling over the princess thing for a while. On the one hand, I think dressing up and make up and girly things like Hello Kitty are super fun. On the other hand, I hold at least vaguely feminist convictions, and while I happen to be somewhat traditionally feminine, I prefer to see gen … [Read more...]

Do Moms Do Better without Dad?

In today's edition of Slate, Pamela Gwyn Kripke writes a controversial parenting piece entitled "It’s Better To Be Raised by a Single Mom." The piece is subtitled "The kids get that magical quality; grit."  Her position is in response to previous Slate posts (and lots of research) that cite numerous disadvantages for children raised in single-mother households. Her position also uses anecdotal and personal evidence in response to studies and statistics based on significantly larger population gr … [Read more...]

Kirkus’ Best Books of 2012

The editors at Kirkus Reviews have created lists in multiple categories--children's, adult fiction, adult nonfiction, teen, and indie--for the best books of 2012. I am particularly drawn to the list of 100 children's books, and I've already requested several titles from our local library. As children's editor and list-maker Vicky Smith notes, "But at the end of it all, having whittled the year’s output down, I am struck again at the astonishing talent and dedication of the creators and p … [Read more...]

The Best Children’s Books of 2012

Happy New Year! In keeping with the CAPC tradition of year-end lists of our favorite things, I’ve been reviewing my reading of the past year. 2012 provided an array of delightful picture books for children. I tried my best to narrow them down to a Top 5, but ended up with 6. In any case, I noticed as I was compiling my list that each of them can in some way be classified as a meta-narrative—a story about stories. Meta-narrative is one of my favorite ways to approach story, because it highlights … [Read more...]

Longing for Fiction

In his text Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, C. S. Lewis writes of fairy stories that “it would be much truer to say that fairy land arouses a longing for he knows not what." It stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods (29) because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little enchanted. T … [Read more...]

Great Christmas Reads for Kids

In an act of shameless self promotion, I'm going to share the link to a list of my favorite Christmas books for kids . Some sacred, some secular, each one offers a delightful read for families this Christmas season. I love the way each one, whether focusing on the Nativity or the Grinch or the Nutcracker or Scrooge, focuses on the way that the magic of this season can transform us, if only we will let it. I hope you enjoy these stories with your loved ones, and that your Christmas is merry and … [Read more...]