05 April 2007
It's Okay to Be Different
Author/Illustrator: Todd Parr
We are all different and we all have our insecurities about those differences. For example, I am a man (formerly boy) with somewhat feminine (alright, downright girly) hands. One of the challenges as you make your way down the windy road of life is to come to terms with yourself and overcome those insecurities. As I have. (But don't joke about my hands when I'm drunk unless you want a feminine fist to the face. Don't say I didn't warn you.)
This book of saccharine feel-good platitudes is a good natured attempt to help children embrace their differences and realize that those little quirks are what makes us special. Which is a great thing to teach kids--in theory, Parr should be commended. However, as with all artificial sweeteners, too much can kill you... and this book is definitely overkill. The final straw comes at the end with a direct message from the author: "It's Okay to be different. You are Special and Important just because of being Who You Are. Love, Todd." Isn't that just precious? Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go throw up.
That being said, against all odds, and despite its nauseating optimism and electrifyingly offensive color scheme (when did I turn into such a jaded old grump?), this book does get an official Bottom Shelf Salute! How is this possible? Simple. Parr manages to save his book from the wrath of my paper shredder with one glorious page that features the single greatest affirmation of all time: "It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub."
Can I get an AMEN! Time to pop some EZ-Mac into the microwave, fix myself a bubble bath, and fire up the loofa... Paradise awaits!
Customer Service Note: During a recent party (at approximately 3:32 am), a friend and I were having some trouble preparing our late night mac & cheese fix. So we called the Kraft hotline to ask, "Where is the butter?! Can you tell us where the butter is?!"
They were not the least bit helpful. Apparently it's not okay to be that different that early in the morning.