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Archive for January 6th, 2017

rock-cover

by Sam Juliano

You know the kind.  They parade around like the world revolves around them.  They issue orders, exhibit zero patience, poor manners and an air of superiority.  When they get what they want they are not appreciative, feeling they are entitled.  They might not be wearing a crown, but in their own mind they are royalty.  They take advantage of those with a penchant for masochism, and employ intimidation tactics against those ill-equipped to protest.  The cries of indignation from those on the receiving end of such condescending behavior are cursed by their victims, many of whom  assert What goes around comes around or Karma’s a bitch.  Throughout children’s literature there are lessons to be learned about smug behavior, The perpetrator always gets a comeuppance comparable to what was dished out.  In Bring Me A Rock! by Daniel Miyares a dictatorial grasshopper with a Napoleonic complex rules over his subjects in an insect hamlet with the proverbial iron fists, until the hand of fate reduces him to what he undoubtedly was before he decided to seize power in a bloodless coup.  Hopper of Disney’s  A Bug’s Life (voiced by Kevin Spacey) projects the same world view at the yellow crowned insect in Miyares’s book, though the procession of minuscule bugs carrying tiny rocks is more the domain of Dreamwork’s Antz.  Another 2016 picture book about an insect community, Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis is also squarely in Caldecott contention.  That it ends up that the tiniest bug in Bring Me A Rock! topples the king -think about the Biblical story of David and Goliath but without the fatal outcome- is a call for equality and the idea that every member of society has a place in the overall scheme.  Some critics have suggested a Marxist implication, but I think the author illustrator was far more concerned with teaching children the importance of sharing and not allowing one person to undervalue others. (more…)

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