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Hi, everybody. No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth, but my reading this past summer has been limited to the nonfiction articles I've been editing for work and reading to my two children, aged 3 and 5.

I discovered that good books for small children are hard to come by. It's a sad state when the best books are by Dr. Seuss, a man who's been dead for several years. Most of what's available seems to be tied with some toy or cartoon character. I have nothing against Elmo, but I don't want to link television with reading so strongly.

Among the better books are the Little Critter stories by Gina and Mercer Mayer. These stories are written simply in the language of young children without being condescending, they're short enough to keep tiny attention spans occupied and they don't preach. Among the absolute worst are the Berenstain Bears. The writing is too simplistic, the poetry is dreadful, the stories usually end with a self-righteous moral. Unfortunately, they are very popular.

I know there are many excellent books for older children, but for small ones it's slim pickings.

Uhura :o)
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