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Parents' Guide to


By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Confusing tone weakens tale of unwavering love.

BUMBLE-ARDY Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

The Dark Side of Sendak

In previous Sendak books children rebel and learn to cope. It was their growing individualism, learning to be grown ups themselves, and often through 'not nice' events (getting eaten by a lion, being king of the monsters), that parents didn't approve. Parents wanted quiet obedient kids. Sendak showed children being kids, doing things they "shouldn't do" (but learning and growing from the experience). This book approaches the growing, rebellious child from the opposite direction. In this book a child makes a mistake, is punished and frightened to death by his caretaker, and only after he's cowed and submissive again (to the point of wanting never to grow older), is love shown. Sendak's stories used to celebrate and empower the child. This book is all about beating them back down. In a weird way this is an excellent teaching book about child abuse.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Though the cover may suggest a more playful, innocent tale than the one found inside, this is another engaging Sendak book, with fascinating illustrations and original twists. Based on a 1970s "Sesame Street" cartoon segment, this story has undergone a few changes that make it darker and meaner than the original. Instead of being a happy little boy living with his mother, this Bumble-ardy is a hopeless little pig who has never celebrated his birthday and is adopted by a loving aunt, also a pig. The party-gone-haywire segment is about the same, except for the costuming that makes it all a bit more bizarre. Three double-page spreads make the party look more like a drunken orgy than a 9-year-old's birthday celebration. Then the ending, before the reconciliation, depicts an angry scene that shows a mean and scary aunt and a cowering, tearful Bumble-ardy. She yells, "Never again!" and he pleads, begs, and promises. That in particular makes this book questionable for young readers, and may make you wonder about the age of the audience Sendak is trying to reach. Still, the amazing illustrations make it a book worth reading, especially aloud and with drama.

Book Details

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