My criteria when purchasing these books is such: Is it a book? Is it for kids? Is it hard? I'll take it. I don't spend much time leafing through them inspecting the content. For 25 cents, I figure I can just buy it now, check it out later, and toss it if I don't like it for whatever reason. But what's not to like? Ninety-nine percent of the time, they're harmless little narratives about a bunny who loves flowers, an impish boy who befriends a toad, a ladybug looking for her mommy, or a ball that bounces super high.
Why am I telling you about my garage sale book-buying jaunts? Because it will help explain why my toddler has a board book about baby killing.
As mentioned above, I don't peruse these books when purchasing them. So when I saw this little gem, it seemed harmless enough:
Now, I don't normally go for the Bible-story books. Usually I find these stories to be not very fun-looking, and let's face it, my kid is only a year and a half old. What he's really looking for in a book is a picture of a kitty or a doggie or a balloon, not a picture of a burning bush or a pillar of salt. So I try to stick with what looks simple enough for a kid to grasp. But I examined the cover of the book and saw what you see above--a baby in a basket, some water, some birds, some friendly-looking, smiling folks. Seemed like a winner. So I bought it, along with a Clifford The Big Red Dog book and a Dr. Seuss book.
At home, I tossed it onto the massive, towering pile of Jake's books and forgot all about it for a couple of weeks. Jake put it in his regular rotation of reading (okay, pointing at and slobbering on), and it wasn't until yesterday that I happened to sit down and look through it with him. All was well and good on page one, but at page two we hit a roadblock:
In case you can't read the fine print, or in case you think your eyes must be deceiving you, yes! It really does say "The King of Egypt thought there were too many Hebrews in his country, so he gave the order that all Hebrew baby boys were to be killed." Note the cartoonish illustration (properly fashioned in the primary colors that best capture a toddler's eye) of a frantic mommy clutching her infant while an ominous-looking fellow with a baby-slicing sword ransacks the place.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not the kind of person who advocates censoring books. But I was thinking I'd hold off teaching jake about infanticide until he was at least 2 years old. There's plenty of time to discuss murder and slaughter of all kinds once he starts potty training. At some point, I plan to incorporate the holocaust into his bedtime stories, but I was thinking I wouldn't start that until we move him from his crib into a toddler bed.
So for now, I'll tuck this perfectly normal, perfectly healthy children's book away, and pull it out again when Jake is old enough to pronounce the word genocide.