Book of the Week: Spotty

Title: Spotty

Author: Margret Rey

Illustrator: H.A. Rey

Summary: A spotted bunny is born into an all white bunny and feels like an outcast until he discovers a family that is all spotted.

Review:  Probably appropriate to read back in 1945 when the book was written; however, now?  Absolutely inappropriate!

This book was brought to my attention by a teacher who had begun to read it to her class and quickly stopped.

While the plot of the book is meant to be good, the book does not do a good job of doing so.  Let’s begin with Mommy Bunny in tears over the fact that one of her bunnies has spots and “what will grandpa say?”

Then there is Aunt Eliza who emphatically tells Rosie (a white bunny) that she does “not like spots.”

When Rosie asks what “different” is, she is brushed off and told to go off and play.

Then there is the running away; you know, because running away solves every problem…and in this case it very apparently DOES solve everything.  Had Spotty not run away he never would have found Mr. Brown who was spotted and in quite the OPPOSITE quandary: he had all spotted bunnies except for one…Whitey.

Yes, there is actually a bunny in this story named Whitey!

It takes the majority of this book to talk about all the differences and NOT accepting people’s differences until the last two pages where everyone comes together.

It leaves off, however, in a way that I don’t feel it’s all been resolved.

This is a very awkward book in reading and how it’s written.

I usually don’t do reviews of books that I don’t like; however this is one that I feel I must write.  This book had been donated to the center and the teacher hadn’t read it before putting it on the shelf in the listening center (it came with a CD reading) and, had she not picked it up to read herself, the children would have been listening to it.

This goes to show it is VERY important to read any book before it goes into your classroom.

Have you ever read this book?  What did you think?


Barbra Stephens said...

I agree. This book sends a message about physical differences and teaching children about stereotypes and prejudices that is appalling. Stories like Ping, Little Black Sambo, and many others were popular books when I was a child and we as adult must be mindful what we read to our children.
What do we want to teach them? Is this the message we want to send our children?
I always check the content of a book before I read it, just like I am mindful of what I eat.
Great post, Jenni...

Jenni said...

Yes, PING! It was one of my favorites as a child and when I found my copy years ago I was shocked! At times I find my childhood favorites and realize how much we've evolved.