Monday, July 30, 2007

Petunia, Beware!

by Roger Duvoisin/ published 1958 by Alfred A. Knopf

Often I am amazed at how many older children's books flirt with the idea of death. Sure, there is always the dead parent portrayed in movies today, but it seems in books written in the last 10 years, you are less likely to find main characters being devoured (as in Henny Penny, published 1968). Such is the case with Petunia Beware. This is a book that leads you to believe not only that the grass is not greener on the other side, but going to the other side to have a little taste might actually lead you to be eaten alive.

"Yes, do wait a while, Petunia," said a soft, purring voice from a clump of birches. Weasel, Fox, and Raccoon will not harm you while I am protecting you."

I've seen this theme played out over and over again in books, and it is funny to think what bit of wisdom the authors were actually trying to relay to their readers. Yes, there is always "the grass in always greener", but it can also be interpreted as "be happy with your lot in life, and don't strive for that which is out of your reach". I shudder to think what desktop sales would be like today if little Billy Gates had heeded that advice. All the same, this is a great book from a series, and one that my kids adores. (Granted, animal lover that he is, if you put a place mat with the Chick-fil-a mascot in front of him, he'd probably squeal with delight.)

Also by:
Veronica and the Birthday Present
The Rain Puddle
A Child's Garden of Verses
White Snow Bright Snow
Petunia's Christmas
The Old Bullfrog

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