Tar and Abby

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Peter Rabbit vs real rabbits

This is something I've thought about for years.
Ever since I started buying childrens books before we got married.
Do anthropomorphized animals in children's books confuse kids about
real animals? Would my child walk up to a bear in the woods and expect
to have tea with it? (You can find all sorts of things to worry about when
you are a parent....)
And here is Scientific American with an article on it. Turns out there was
something to my thoughts.

"The researchers say for children to appreciate animals as organisms with their own life histories and behaviors, the creatures should be presented in a biologically realistic manner. We don’t want to deny Peter Rabbit his tea. But maybe kids should also hear how a rabbit’s long ears probably help them detect predators. It’s a true story."

Otoh. I grew up to respect bears. Our children now know the difference between Peter Rabbit and real rabbits. But I do wonder about the books I buy all the grand nieces and nephews (I *am* the Book Aunt.) The books I write and illustrate for them. Just a bit. Maybe a disclaimer... and Abby thinks a squirrel as the protagonist in a book is just plain silly.

Full article here


mistress maddie said...

I don't know what your talking about. I used to read my children books in the back courtyard to my bird friends while serving tea to rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks....

Jeanne said...

Interesting point. But I feel that the books which tell stories of anthropomorphic animals have their place. They fuel a child's imagination. Something which all too often is squelched by the education factories we call schools.
Books on both real and imagined animals should be read to children. This way both sides of their brain are given food for thought.

Bob Slatten said...

I never once thought of 'real' rabbits as tea drinkers.

I think of them as Chai Latte drinkers.

mrs.missalaineus said...

snaps to jeanne!