Vigna seems convinced that a few watercolor washes can make the human being a much better place, yet her idealism is misguided; story of the horrible undercurrent the the real human being are an ext likely to scare children.

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Although the complying with review is not positive, ns empathize through what Judith Vigna tried come accomplish. In the so late 1980’s, she take it on a topic that couple of writers that children’s books would select to address: just how to describe family difficulties carried on by alcoholism and addiction. Beyond the intimate link of a parental or trusted household member talking directly to a child, increasing this issue on a public platform is favor walking v a minefield. The so simple to do a single misstep that blows the job straight come heck. Not to hell, psychic you, we’re talking about children’s books.

I wish Daddy didn’t Drink for this reason Much (1988) and also My large Sister takes Drugs (1990) were released by Albert Whitman & agency as fictional self-help stories to education kids around alcoholism and substance usage disorder. V these books, Vigna invents a type of misguided bibliotherapy design for youngsters in preschool to grade 3. The books do a belly flop, and also it’s hard to imagine the either would effectively educate or console a young child, although the is their goal. Moreover, both books are culturally biased because they focus on white personalities in one of two people suburban America or a strange rural atmosphere where isolated houses exist in the center of i do not have anything for no good reason.


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Is such grim reality necessary in children’s photo books? In the context of both of this efforts, over there is a feeling that something precious has been hijacked to attain a worthy educational goal. Children’s storybooks and snapshot books room a beloved component of childhood, combining the visual imagination with language. The innocence of the genre is a an essential element come the lasting success that so countless outstanding children’s publications from Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild points Are and Dr. Seuss’s The Cat In The hat to Shel Silverstein’s The giving Tree and also Margaret Wise’s Goodnight Moon.

Although each of these stories teaches a life class about good behavior and also decency, they don’t cross the line by subverting the fantasy come morality. Indeed, the fantasy bolsters the moral message, acquisition it come the following level through presenting the concepts in an creative context the provides accessibility for a child. Once I recall an initial reading publications as a little boy, i remember the fun I experienced and the thrill of turning the pages. In Judith Vigna’s stories, the funny is changed by a dull melancholy ruptured here and also there by a psychic undercurrent the anxiety and also fear. Also when hope is gift in the end and also partial options proffered, the ugliness remains, favor the father’s undeterred alcoholism in I great Daddy didn’t Drink so Much.

The ideal example of this replacement happens in I wish Daddy didn’t Drink therefore Much, aimed at children in pre-school come grade 2. The night before Christmas is disturbed once young Lisa’s drunken father stumbles right into her bedroom dressed together Santa Claus. On the very first page of message in the book, Lisa describes that the costume did not fool her for a second. She says, “I knew it was just Daddy in a Santa Claus suit since he bumped right into my bed twice and spilled beer ~ above the rug. I didn’t favor that. As soon as Daddy drink a lot of beer, the acts funny.”

In other words, even a son knows that Santa Claus doesn’t present up drunk. Still, Lisa is excited since her father is going come take she sledding the following day. Santa even leaves a note taped to her new sled that claims her dad promised him that they would certainly go sledding and try out the existing after breakfast. Unfortunately, dad is as well hungover to walk sledding. Lisa asks later on in the job if they can go, however Dad is drink beer when watching television, focused specifically on the hair of the dog that little him the night before.

Lisa’s dad ignores she request, and also she it s okay mad, telling him the he promised. The confront of the little girl is drawn with together sadness and also disappointment. Reacting to she feelings, she father lashes out and yells at Lisa. She end up playing with her sled in the house, imagining that she’s in the clouds yet feeling sad and scared.

Although over there is no straight physical violence in the book, past loud fights between the mother and also father, the hazard looms. The negative times continue and also culminate through an intoxicated failed attempt to go sledding. Later, Lisa mopes outside as she mother and also father have a big screaming match inside the home with sound of break glass.


The story ends when Lisa and also her mommy escape she father’s drunken rage by going over to Mrs. Field’s house. They have a pretty Christmas dinner v this old lady, and also Lisa opens up about how her father’s drinking damaged Christmas. Mrs. Ar tells Lisa the she used to drink as well much prior to she obtained help. One day, she father could be all set to get help as well. Until then, she advises this tiny girl, “you deserve to learn to be happier. You can shot to do among your favorite things every day.”

And that’s around it. Yes a closing bit where Lisa returns home and also her father assures to take her sledding ~ above Sunday. Yet nothing changes, and Lisa remains in a crappy case with little learned and less relieved. Informing a child to do one of her favorite things every day together a an answer to alcoholism in the family is choose telling a cancer patience to go to Disneyland every weekend. The profoundly stops working to address the main problem.

Vigna seems encouraged that a couple of watercolor washes have the right to make the human being a far better place, yet her idealism is misguided; stories of the dreadful undercurrent of the real world are much more likely to fear children. Story time is not when the dark concerns of mankind should be elevated with children. Walk out and also doing a favorite thing is no an effective technique to handling an alcohol addict parent.

In complex.com’s list of The 25 most Ridiculous holiday Children"s Books, Vigna’s book comes in in ~ number one. The an impressive achievement because the vain is stiff, ranging from How Santa shed His Pants and also How Santa lost His Job come Santa Cow Island and also The flying Canoe: A Christmas Story.

My large Sister takes Drugs is Judith Vigna’s 2nd attempt in ~ the bibliotherapy children’s photo book genre. Designed for qualities 2 v 3, a contempt older group from seven to nine years old, the publication tells the story of little Paul who is dealing with the reality that his teenage sister, Tina, is utilizing drugs. The medicine profoundly change Tina in a an adverse way. Quite than play gamings with Paul, she provides him prescription pills. Later, after gift busted by the cops for cigarette smoking crack in the park with her delinquent friends, Tina is shipped turn off to rehab. Tina’s medicine use causes Paul to shed friends since other parents don’t desire their kids around his enlarge sister. Also, as soon as Tina goes to rehab, over there is no money left to send the to football camp.

As part of Vigna’s desperate drug education and awareness program, this dank children’s picture book only succeeds in stigmatizing substance use disorder. Okay, Tina has become a mean big sister and also hangs out with median kids. Paul feels threatened in his very own home. However, these scare techniques of shedding friends and also opportunities because of drug usage are counterproductive to any kind of real knowledge of addiction together a disease in general and a family disease in particular.

The story is poorly told and also not believable. Because that example, there is a weird section where Tina tries to acquire her brother high on brand-new Year’s Eve, supplying him prescription medicine while she reclines on she bed. Paul declines and also Tina calls him a chicken. When Paul inevitably tells his parents around the incident, Tina is grounded because that a week.

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Such a succession makes little or no sense. Why would a teenage sister want to provide her small brother drugs? Why would she be house on brand-new Year’s Eve v her small brother and not out with her friends? does Vigna know drug society and teens at all? Tina is way too open around what she is doing with both her parents and Paul. The usually secretive nature the adolescent drug usage is changed with common adolescent rebellion, a instead of which does not carry out justice come the important insidious nature of medicine abuse and also addiction. I wondered why Judith Vigna did not do much more first-hand research before writing a book designed come educate children on together a vital issue.

At the same time, in ~ this really moment, ns feel a little bit guilty about being so hard on Judith Vigna. Although she idealism might be misdirected, it originates from a loving instinct come do an excellent in the people and aid other people. In ~ the end of I great Daddy no Drink so Much, she consists of A note to Grown-ups. In this note, Vigna writes about the challenge of alcoholism together a family disease: “The children tend come blame themselves, and without sufficient support, may feel ashamed, confused, and also alone… Parents and other caring adult can help by reassuring kids that they space not responsible because that the drinking.”

But regardless of such an excellent intentions, Vigna’s effort to sell such reassurance and also educate children about substance usage disorder, a worthy and also necessary goal, drops flat.