Being both a teacher and a father, I always look for books that allow children and parents to share moments. In my family, we have had a number of favorite children’s books. These books have allowed a great deal of lap sitting, shared reading, and relationship building. From early when a child is a baby, through children learning to read words, to children reading by themselves – favorite books can be priceless treasures.
But where do you look for new favorite books? Here I look at the New York Times Best Sellers’ List for the week of May 27, 2018 to discover current choices that might help parents to find books others have thought are good for children.
Here they are in the order of best sellers, from #1 to #5. In my reviews, I have tried to share my insights about the stories and how these books might be best used. By the way, if you want to see the content of the books before buying them, just put the title into Youtube and you can see someone reading the book online.
#1: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARLON BUNDO
by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss. Illustrated by E. G. Keller [published by Chronicle Books]
This book has been on the New York Times Best Sellers’ Lift for 8 weeks. The tag line on this children’s book is: A lonely bunny meets a companion. However, as my review suggests, there is more to this book than that.
The Politics of the Book
Interestingly, the book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a loose parody of Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, a book written by Mike Pence’s daughter Charlotte and illustrated by Pence’s wife Karen. The Pence book tells about a day of the Pence family, from the fictionalized view of the Pence’s pet rabbit.
However, in mid-March 2018, the publication of both books became a comedy piece on Last Week Tonight to highlight Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT beliefs. John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, reported that Pence’s pet rabbit was the one thing he liked about Pence; however, it bothered him that Pence’s real-life rabbit (Marlon Bundo) stopped at anti-LGBT’s Focus on the Family during a book tour. And, because the original Pence book was to be launched on March 19, Oliver announced the publication of a “better Bundo book” that preceded the launch of the Pence book.
According to the publisher, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a real children’s story about democracy and marriage equality, rather than a specific parody on the Pence book. As Oliver notes, he was trying to do two things: (a) balance Pence by sending an inclusive message and (b) annoy Pence by donating all proceeds of its book to LGBT-friendly organizations.
Marlon Bundo, a black-and-white rabbit, lives in the home of vice president Mike Pence, “lovingly” called “Grampa.” Marlon is lonely, but one morning he meets another rabbit named Wesley. Because they have such a “hoppy” day together, they decide that they never want to hop without each other again. So, it makes sense to get married. Marlon and Wesley invite all their animal friends, who are happy to attend. But the stinkbug, known as “In Charge and Important,” yells at them. “Boy rabbits can only marry girl rabbits.” He calls them “different,” and he judges different as bad. The other animals come to Marlon and Wesley’s defence, noting that each animal is different in its own way. They take a vote about who is “In Charge and Important” and vote the stinkbug out. Marlon and Wesley get married, with all their friends watching, and anticipate hopping around on their “bunnymoon.”