Duh-duh-duh-duh-duh Dora

I know I've proclaimed my love for the public library before.  I believe I've also mentioned Abby's method for choosing books, which is to select only ones with pink and/or purple spines.  (For as tomboy-ish as I am, she balances me out in girly-ness.)  I don't think I've talked about my general disdain for all things "character".  Winnie the Pooh, Power Rangers, Nickelodeon characters, Disney Princesses.  Not a fan.  I mean, I like the shows (excepting Power Rangers), but I'm just not a fan of plastering the stuff all over our house, kids' clothes & toys, and the food in our pantry.

Obviously, there are exceptions.  It happens.  My kids have been eating Dora fruit snacks because they were practically free at Kroger a couple of weeks ago.  We have a Barbie scooter for Abby because it was the cheapest deal we could find on Black Friday this year.  Ben & Abby each have a character umbrella that they were out singing in the rain with last week. 

And then there are the books...

That come from the library (and grandparents)...

Most recently it was Dora Saves Mermaid Kingdom.

We got 5 books per kid.  Abby decided to read this one exclusively at every opportunity.  The other four books are equally pink, but probably much better books.

Who am I to judge?  I've never had a children's book published.  I am not the multi-million dollar creative genius behind Dora the Explorer, who is clearly doing something right to be so successful.  I just have three kids to whom I have read nine bajillion books. And then there's the fact that I was a kid once who devoured books not unlike The Incredible Book-Eating Boy

So maybe I'm qualified to judge a little.

It's just that this particular book was terrible.  I mean.  Just awful.  To the point that it left me scratching my head after the first time I read it.  And of course, Abby wanted to read it every waking minute until we returned it to the library today.  We read it so many times the first couple of days that she memorized it and read it back to me time after time after time.

It was the longest two weeks of my life.

Now, I will share with you the basic plot of the story - with pictures.  So that you can all become a little bit dumber, just as I have.

It starts out with a giant clam telling a story about the mermaid kingdom to Dora & Boots on "Clean Up the Beach Day".  One day, a mermaid named Mariana found a magic crown that would grant her one wish.  It was perfect timing considering an evil octopus had recently taken to dumping boatloads full of garbage onto the mermaid kingdom.  Unfortunately, just as she was about to put the crown on, a wave swept it away.  Drat.

Okay, so is this as random to anyone else at this point as it was to me?  Why was the clam telling this story?  Why is an octopus driving a garbage boat and using a crane to dump said garbage into the water?  Don't octopi live in the ocean as well?  A little self-defeating, don't you think?  And is the octopus wearing a tin can for a hat?  What's up with that?

After a wave washes the crown (corona) right into the hands of Dora and Boots, they decide to deliver it to Mariana.  They consult with Map (of course).  He guides them on their way with stops on Pirate Island where Dora and Boots have to do the Coconut Conga to get past the coconutty trees (that little iteration is courtesy of Abby).  The pirate pigs teach them how to do the wiggle.  There's a joke about sweating like a pig here, probably.  It's lost on me today.

So, pirate pigs?  That's weird too, right?  I can't lie.  This was my favorite part of the book.  I like the idea of having to "wiggle, wiggle, wiggle" past crazy trees.

Made it past Pirate Island and they now have to get across the Silly Sea, which is comprised of a bunch of fish-tailed animals that are not ordinarily found in the water.   The interactive Dora asks the reader what they could ride on to get past the silly sea animals.  The correct answer is...the dolphins, which Diego helps summon by saying "squeak, squeak!"


The first time we read this, my four year old answered with the obvious answer - "The jetski!"  Sorry, hun, that makes too much sense for a Dora book.  The "right" answer is that you have to ride on a dolphin while Diego laughs at you from his waverunner.

After all the hard work, they made it to the mermaid kingdom where they were almost able to deliver the crown to Mariana, but they were too late!  The evil (another iteration from Abby - the actual adjective used was "mean") octopus threw a net on her.  She slipped the crown to Dora who put it on and turned into a mermaid - a mermaid who had one wish!  Of course, she wished to clean up the mermaid kingdom.


The story could have ended here and it would have been great.  The end.  But nooooo...

After using her solitary wish to clean up the mermaid kingdom, there's still trash all over, so she enlists the help of the other mermaids to clean up.  Everyone say, "Clean up time!"

Worst wish-granting EVER.  If I used my wish to clean something up and then still had to come behind and finish the job I would be ticked.  It'd be like pulling into a full-service gas station, but still having to get out and pump your own gas.  Uhhhh....  Total waste of a wish, if you ask me.  She should have definitely tried for something better and let Mariana use her wish on cleaning up the mermaid kingdom.

They rescue Mariana from the net and turn it on the evil octopus who vows to take his trash to the dump instead of pouring it atop Mermaid Kingdom.  Dora turns back into a person when Mariana "needs" her crown back.  Then, Mariana gives Dora a magic mermaid necklace so that she can come visit anytime. 

The End

I don't think it was really Mariana's crown to begin with, seeing as how she had just found it when the wave washed it out of her grip, but she was sure quick to demand it back.  Selfish.  I find it strange too that the mermaid has in her possession things that can magically transform normal people into mermaids on a whim, but has no power to stop a water-creature from operating a trash crane.  

Or maybe I just think about things too much.  (No, that couldn't possibly be it.)

In all seriousness, I like silly.  I like taking imaginative liberties.  But, I also like things to have some semblance of making logical sense.  Is that really too much to ask?


Elizabeth said...

I totally agree with you about the character books! They are attractively displayed at the front of my library so my kids always want them. They don't even know who the characters are half the time but still beg for them. I have a strong dislike for Thomas the Tank Engine as the books aren't well written and the trains are mean and vindicative in all the books. Not that some of the non-character books aren't equally bad but atleast most of them are well-written!

Anonymous said...

I'm totally finding this book on Amazon and sending it to Abby as a gift. :) Hahahahaaaaa! That's what you get for bragging about sunbathing...

Debbie said...

I enjoyed this entire post. Mainly it was because I'm self- consumed, and every word sounded like what I would say, only better. Ha!

Loved your book review. It made me giggle.

I'm trying to remember the kid movie that made the husband nnoyed enough to walk out. Had it been anythng but a 1.00 movie, he probably would have endured it because he's cheap like me, but he just hated it so much that we all left.

The girls didn't cry a bit, either. They kind of thought it was dumb too. Plus, they got ice cream.

What WAS that movie????

In our house, the character stuff was reserved for such things as beach towels, sheets, and umbrellas. We didn't wear characters in regular garb. It was just a fixation of mine. Not surprised it sort of one for you too.

Debbie said...

Fern Gully!! That was it.

Sharon Kirby said...

Jennie, I'm sorry, but this book just STUNK as much as Mr. Octopus' garbage boat. I think the tin can hat is a little jaunty, yes - but wildly out of place. That garbage must have been a little radioactive - that's the only thing I can think of to explain the horribly mutated animal mermaids.

This is a stupid plot line - I'm not even going to dignify it by calling it a plot - more like a plop.

And, to top it off, the illustrations were very amateurish. What's the deal with the monkey's shoes? They look like Juicy Fruits. And the weird mustache-looking things at the bottom of the trees? What's the deal with that? Looks a little suspect...

Now, if this is the kind of stuff that's making money, maybe it's time for me to write a children's story, hmmm???

Although, I shouldn't really be casting stones here - my household was held hostage by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandise. We got sucked in...

(P.S. Please don't tell Abby about my scathing review. I'd like to keep on her good side!)

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