Friday, July 7, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: And To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess

So apparently this was the very first Suess book. Published nearly 80 years ago it is a classic indeed. I had never heard of this book before. My stepdaughter was cleaning out her room at her mother's house and brought my son a giraffe that she was given at Easter. Apparently, that giraffe had to do with this book so my son wanted me to read the book to him.

Normally, right here I would give a synopsis of the book but there is a more pressing issue I have to get into. So the copy I read to my son was an old one. As in it was as it was originally written. I wish I had known that there was a not so minor change made back in the late 1970s. I had sat down and was reading the book to my son while my husband sat across from us playing a game on his iPad. All the sudden I came to a part in the book that I read and after I read it I hesitated for a half a second before quickly moving along.

You see I came to something that shows the blatant racism you would find in the 1930s. I had just read the word "chinaman" to my son. I was horrified and couldn't even look at the corner of the page where I just knew there was going to be a horrible caricature that I did NOT want him looking at. I quickly showed him the man with a long beard in the middle of the page praying he had not looked at the picture on the left-hand side.

Suess had agreed to change the wording to "Chinese man" and the drawing was changed to be less stereotypical. I still haven't looked at that picture but I know that the man was yellow in color. My husband and I discussed it afterward. We both were kind of not sure how to handle the situation. Do I have a discussion with my son? Do I just let it go and hope he didn't absorb any of it?

In the end, we decided to let it go as my son is special needs and right now this is a discussion that he does not have the capability to understand. But we have put it on our list of future discussions to have with him.

As far as rating this book it was an OK book up until that point. I just can't reconcile what I read. There is also a bit in there which ticked off my inner feminist but nowhere near as much as that racist moment. I understand that at the time it was considered perfectly normal but I'm a modern person and I can't just ignore something like that. I won't ignore something like that.

So I'm sorry but this Suess book is a 0 out of 5 stars for me.

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