Read whatever you want. (Except for dumb articles in Slate.) But you should TOTALLY feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children. Let me tell you how I know this. I read three used books from the 25 cent bin while standing up in a thrift store waiting for my daughter to finish looking at small purses shaped like monkeys. And I had a revelation: Children’s literature SUCKS.
These books are very didactic and have ugly art. My daughter’s boredom with small monkey-shaped purses could not happen quickly enough! Therefore, I must extrapolate with my powerful powers of extrapolation that ALL children’s books are didactic and have ugly art. Children’s literature is about escapism, instant gratification and nostalgia, and also sniffing ammonia.
I don’t know why you’d think there was any value in Where the Wild Things Are or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble or The Snowy Day or Corduroy or Press Here or The Arrival or Bread and Jam for Frances or Stellaluna or Eloise or I Want My Hat Back! or The Carrot Seed or Harold and the Purple Crayon or The Maggie B or One Morning in Maine or Not a Box or Flotsam or The Red Book. Because I have read THREE PICTURE BOOKS while standing in front of a rack of teeny rashguards, so I know that all children’s books are bad. Also, what’s all this fuss about violins on television? We should have MORE violins on television! I saw that Leonard Bernstein concert and it was just lovely!
Sure, some might find it strange when a very young woman like myself sounds like she’s channeling an unholy combination of Emily Litella and the Church Lady (references I’m sure I don’t know because I am so dewy, which is probably due to the clean New England air that filled my not-at-all-intolerant-or-ill-informed youthful lungs). Some might think, “Wait! Isn’t ANY form of literature a wide tent? If a person doesn’t like two or three books within a given genre, whether that genre is YA lit, children’s books, fantasy, true crime, sci-fi, romance or literary fiction, does that mean he or she can make sweeping unintentionally comedic Gilda-Radner-esque judgments about ALL the books in that genre?” Oh sure, some might argue that when a person cites The Westing Game and Tuck Everlasting as examples of the given genre she is disdaining, books that are actually MIDDLE-GRADE NOVELS AND NOT YOUNG ADULT BOOKS, i.e. NOT the ostensible genre she is critiquing, she reveals the great gaping depths of her cluelessness.
SOME might say that. But look over there! A giant!
So my point is this: Children’s books only lead to children becoming hoarders, frightening animals and disassembling electronic devices. You can read this genre if you want, or tell yourself this genre has value or whatever, but you’re wrong. Wait, I didn’t mean YOU, I meant all the other people doing what you’re doing.
My ignorance is my security object.