sarah

The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit

The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit - Christopher Wormell For adults (or even better, tortured teenagers), this might be a great book. I'm on the "hated it" side of the debate. Here's exactly what made me angry the first time I read it: "But one day the monster never came out of his cave and the stone rabbit sat alone." My four-year-old daughter politely waited until I finished reading the story before asking me why the monster didn't come out of his cave anymore.Thanks a lot, Chris Wormell. If you're going to kill off the main character in your children's book, at least have the guts to make it clear that the character is dead. Don't make ME explain it. Don't imply death and then make me pick up the slack. Coward.That major annoyance aside, I did not feel that the "make your own happiness" message came across in the book. Was the monster really successful at making his own happiness? I didn't get the impression that having a stone rabbit for company made him genuinely happy. He died alone in his cave and the world was better off without him (judging by the return of plants and animals). How was that a positive message?I'm not the type of parent who needs a happy ending to every story I read to my child. I actually prefer ambiguous stories that we can discuss later. But this wasn't ambiguous, it was just miserable. I am confident that discussions about this level of existential horror can wait until she is old enough to read books that aren't mostly pictures. I can tell because when we discussed the book the next day, she said that the message she got from it was that we don't have to play with ugly people. So much for all our discussions about how we shouldn't judge people based on how they look on the outside. Thanks again, Chris Wormell!EDIT: My husband read the book, and pointed out that the text says that the monster is happy several times after the stone rabbit is created. I missed that on the first time through. So, having thought about it, I think my problem with the book is that I didn't believe it. I would have liked it if he were happy as a hermit, but since he needed a companion, I don't believe that an inanimate stone (and its lack of participation is stressed in the book) could fill that void. If the monster is happy, I would compare it to Hans Christian Anderson mawkish happiness, like the visions the Little Match Girl sees as she is freezing to death. Maybe I just don't have enough imagination to believe in the Little Stone Rabbit the way the monster does, or maybe I just have a low tolerance for maudlin. :-/