Can anyone explain to me why, when most Americans no longer live on or even near farms, the books we use to teach kids about their world are full of agrarian animals and scenes. It’s not just the older books–Boynton’s books are full of cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens.
One of 3B’s favorite books is her Barnyard Dance, but when the hell will 3B ever see a barnyard? OK, that’s actually a trick question, since Grammy lives on a dairy farm in Vermont, so 3B gets to see a barnyard a few times a year. But a barnyard dance? How the hell is he supposed to know what that is?
Why not a book about a breakdancing contest? Fashions being as cyclical as they are, that’s more likely to be a part of his daily routine than a hoedown.
And, as for those animals, he’d be better served if his books were full of squirrels, feral cats, dogs–mostly mutts and rescued greyhounds, thank you very much–and those little black birds that are everywhere–including in our stroller–and pigeons, seagulls, chickadees, and murders of crows.
I’m not kidding about the crows. Several times a year, they descend in concentrations of massive numbers throughout the area. One afternoon, they roosted in the trees of the nature preserve across from our office, giving everyone the heeby-jeebies, squawking all afternoon long, as if taunting us: “Try to get to your car! Caw! Caw! Caw! It’s a long way to the garage! Caw! Caw! Caw!” No wonder a group of them is called a murder.
But seriously, back to the cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens–anyone know why we can’t shake our agrarian roots? Is it because books about where most of us work these days–the veal-fattening pens in cube farms–would be too grim? Hey, maybe we could liven the place up and hold a barnyard dance in the copier room . . . anybody? Anybody?
If you know the answer, please share. This isn’t a trick question. I honestly can’t figure it out.