Nov 11, 2011

#TheList, No. 46: The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck

Alright, I know these Beatrix Potter stories are household names, but I don't remember reading any of them when I was a child.  I'm pretty sure I owned a collection of the stories, but I think it became a coloring book for my siblings (along with my walls and the back of my closet where my brother once drew out his comic book "Triangle Boy" - it's not half bad).  Anyway, my point is that I went into reading this book with the assumption that its inclusion in "The List" is for nostalgia's sake. 

I did not expect to laugh my butt off the entire time I read this book, although that might not have been for the right reasons.  I still think this is a nostalgia title, but there's some worth to it.  It's got a bit of a Little Red Riding Hood feel to it and teaches kids that if you're simple and too trusting, you and your kids will be eaten by a fox who is almost always illustrated while sitting and holding a newspaper which makes him look like he's going potty.  You shouldn't want that to happen to you, so don't be stupid - - a moral I can get behind. 


Anyway, I'm going to go through this step by step (like you're in the New Kids) and list my reactions to everything in order. Ready set go:

1) The duck's name is Jemima so I was sincerely hoping for some syrup connection.  She's syrupy sweet in a simpleton kind of way, so I guess that works enough.

2) Miss Jemima is all in a tizzy because the farmer's wife won't let her hatch her eggs (woman's gotta eat!), but her sister-in-law, Rebeccah, but who I call Aunt Becky, is all for letting those eggs get taken away.  She's a busy woman and doesn't have time for that dilly dally nonsense that comes from sitting on top of kids all day.  To this I say: right on! But I guess that's not the attitude I'm supposed to adopt right now.

3) I'll admit that the drawings are pretty fantastic and they make you appreciate the talent that went into drawing everything by hand before computers and graphic art and all that newfangled stuff that the kids are using today came into play.  

4) "She was wearing a shawl and a poke bonnet."  I'm so glad that sentence is in here.  If I had thought for a second that she left the farm without her poke bonnet, I would have thrown this book in a fit of anger.

5) The fox looks like he's sitting on nature's toilet.  Seriously look at that fox.  What is the first thing you think of?  
6) The fox offers his home to Jemima as a place to hatch her eggs. Jemima trusts this fox too much.  Say bye bye to your babies, Jemima!

7) So Jemima keeps her eggs at the fox's house until one day he decides they should eat together and sends her off to buy the fixin's for roast duck.  Luckily a collie who I shall refer to as Lassie even though he (and of course it's a he) has his own name, realizes what the fox is up to and races to save her sorry behind.

8) Her eggs still get eaten by puppies.  I'm a horrible human being because I laughed out loud at that. 

9) Jemima goes home and eventually has more eggs, but not all of them hatched because she never felt the same.  Hooray for depressing endings!

10) Morals: Don't be stupid.   If you're smart, you get to keep your babies.  Stupid people shouldn't have babies. 

Alright, so my reactions were mainly cynical (as usual), but I do actually like the story.  The moral is simple, logical, and great for kids to learn. I recommend it even though I hate when women are portrayed as dainty little weaklings, especially ones who wear poke bonnets. 

No comments:

Post a Comment