Saturday, March 21, 2009

Skeptical Parent Crossing #6!

I've just posted the 6th edition of Skeptical Parent Crossing over at Rational Moms!!! We've got some really fun stuff for you this time such as an eight-year-old "psychic", a skeptical analysis of the various potty-training advice you'll hear, and a parent who questions the wisdom of the piglet Olivia! Check out the whole thing! :D

Oh, and that's not all! This weekend is a real harmonic convergence of secular carnivals!!! The Carnival of the Godless is up at Daylight Atheism, and the Humanist Symposium is up at Atheist Revolution!!!


Varina said...

"questions the wisdom of the piglet Olivia! "

Heresy! Unfortunately the actual post is closed for comment.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sabayon!!!

What's your opinion of Olivia? I've heard about it, but I've never read it myself.

Varina said...

I quite like Olivia. She's a great character, who does have a lot of confidence, but is also quite flawed and idiosyncratic. She actually reminds me a lot of the wardess, but in a good way, in that they are both friendly, outgoing, confident girls who are on occasion quite exhausting and maybe a little bit funny/weird. I think the reviewer in the article made the mistake of looking at a character in a book the way an adult-and specifically a neurotic parent- does, rather than the way a kid does. A kid will identify with the character and when the character does cool stuff the kids will also feel like they can do that, or rather that they want to try that to. Also I don't think Olivia is really as superlative as the article claims, I mean the sandcastle part, yes, is superlative, but my kids just thought that was funny since her mom had made such a little sandcastle, but the rest, well... First, it should be clear to any parent that when a kid wants to be read a whole bunch of stories at bedtime it is not because they "crave stimulation", but because they want to put off going to bed, especially when preceded by the statement "Of course, Olivia is not at all sleepy". Also, the extent to which Olivia reproduces a Pollack is an inside joke to the parents about the childishness of Pollack's work, and it isn't even a real reproduction, she just splashes paint on the wall and gets sent to time out. These little side-jokes for adults are pretty common in children's media since I for one have had to read Olivia like 16 times (I can also recite the intro to Madeline without even looking at the book now) so the inclusion of stuff for grown-ups is good. If you look at the book through the lens of a neurotic parent maybe it would make you insecure or something, but then isn't the whole point of being a neurotic parent that it makes you insecure about any accomplishments by any children that are not your own.
The artwork is also really cute.

mathmom said...

I always thought Olivia's achievements were how she viewed the world, and don't necessarily reflect reality. I am sure that my 4 year old thinks her sandcastle is just as fantastic as Olivia's (and much better than mine). I agree with Sabayon that kids would think, "I could probably do that."

I agree that a bit of entertainment for the adults in childrens stories is key, as long as it's not too much. Even Goodnight Moon has nice touches, like the book "Runaway Bunny" in the bookshelf.