Monday, June 3, 2013

Scraping Up Duck Poop (Or, How I'll Teach My Children About the Politicial System)

I'm's finally here. My turn to take a ride on Ninja Mom's Character Assassination Carousel. Bloggers take a children's book that bugs them and rip it to shreds (figuratively of course. I am constantly telling Madison that ripping books is not ok). I'm following Jean at Mama Schmama who set the bar high with her look at that totally helpful and appropriate toddler self help book Once Upon a Potty.

Seeing how the last blogger to ride focused on excrement, I figured politics was the next logical step and decided to ruthlessly critique a book that drives me nuts; Duck For President. Doreen Cronin is the author of Clack, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type and other cute books about Farmer Brown and his menagerie, so I had high hopes when I picked this book up at one of those we really really really want to make sure children have books so we give them away even if you insist that your children already have plenty of books and you don't need them events.

Well, I'll give it this: it's true to politics. What child doesn't need to know, at the earliest possible age, that politics is a messed up game, people who don't deserve to win can, rules can be changed suit your own purposes, and that if you don't want to work hard, running for office is the way to go? I mean, seriously, I figured I'd at least let Madison get to preschool before demonstrating to her how broken the system is. But I guess you have to teach kids to be cynical about government at some point, so why not start early?

Now, before anyone gets all partisan, the one thing this book SEEMS to have going for it is that the author appears to slam both parties (and situations that both parties got all worked up about) equally. Sometimes Duck appears to be leaning right, sometimes he leans left. But he's always a true slippery politician. 

Anyway, with a "quack quack" here and a "quack quack" there, here we go.

The book opens with Farmer Brown, hard at work running his farm. Mr. Honest American. He's not glamorous, but he gets the job done.

Farmer Brown works hard. He runs the farm, but he's not just sitting on his front porch giving orders. He works too. But there are only so many hours in the day, so, get this, he has the GALL to assign chores to the animals.

Everyone does their job, and apparently really get into their work, because they end the day with whatever they were doing all over them.  Duck is in charge of mowing the lawn and making coffee, so he smells like fresh grass and coffee. Poor Duck. How horrific. Good thing he didn't get barn duty.

Well Duck does not enjoy manual labor. Apparently when he arrived at the farm he expected a nice office job where he'd make phone calls and do the filing, with time for coffee breaks, water cooler gossip, and sneaking out the door at 4:45 with a box of stolen pens. You can't blame him. Classic bait and switch.

So he decided to overthrown the big boss. But revolutions can be messy, and we've already established that he likes his feathers to stay as white as the driven snow, so he decides to hold an election.

Oh, and not tell Farmer Brown. That seems right.

OH, and registered the animals to vote. Making sure that all those who'd vote Duck get a say, even if they didn't meet his initial requirements. That seems fair.

Since Duck set up the election, only registered "his" guys, and barely let Farmer Brown know it was on, he wins in a landslide. Shocking.

Oh, and since a recount was obviously demanded, we get the lovely visual of a "sticky ballot" on a pig's butt. Classy.

Well, happy ending, Duck got what he wanted. Except now he looks like Farmer Brown did. Aw, MAN, Farmer Brown wasn't just sitting on the porch, with his corncob pipe?  Cue sad trombone.  Wasn't all it was quacked up to be, was it Farmer Duck?

Duck learns his lesson. It's tough to be the boss. He sees the error of his ways, apologizes to Farmer Brown, gets back to coffee duty, and thanks his lucky stars that Farmer Brown is nice enough to let bygones be bygones.

Oh no, wait. That would make sense.

No, he decides that the best part of his campaign was....campaigning. He decides that career politician is the way to go, and runs for governor.

He's great a campaigning on a state level, for which, there is coincidentally an election where the current governor appears to be running unopposed. How lucky!

This is so much more fun than making arbitrary voting standards on the farm. He gets to go to diners and town meetings, march in parades, and give speeches. To other ducks. Who apparently now get to vote on the state level, along with all the other farm animals. I missed the part where voting rights were extended to horses, chickens, and cows, all based on one small farm, but hey, let's just accept that Duck was able to register all his cronies. And run.

And naturally, he wins by one vote.

OH, until the inevitable and long drawn recount, which produces more sticky ballots.

So Duck is governor.

Until he realizes that job requires work too. Boo.

So he runs for President.

Now he's got bigger parades, bigger speeches (that only other ducks understand), kissing babies (from parents who are so brainwashed by being near this charismatic duck that they've lost their minds) and playing his sax on late night TV while the host gazes adoringly at him.

And he wins. By five votes.

Until the Vice President, for reasons I don't want to imagine, is discovered with ten sticky ballots on his butt. All for Duck, of course.

Cut to Duck in the Oval Office, starting out the window, contemplating the turn his life has taken. Did you know people expect the President to do stuff? People keep bugging him. Ugh. Who woulda thunk it?

Well, luck have it, he's got a paper with some classified ads. Must still want the hometown news, because Farmer Brown of all people needs a Duck replacement.

Duck ditches the White House, leaves Vice President Sticky Bottom in charge, and he and Farmer Brown make up.

Come on, what political story has a happy ending?

There's more where this came from. Check out Ninja Mom's complete hit list on her blog. Next up is Sarah at Sadder But Wiser Girl who will take down another deserving target!

Lots of giveaways coming up, some from product reviews, some just because I'm in a good mood. Make sure you head on over to Facebook and like my page so you're among the first to find out when you can take advantage of my giving nature!

And no, I'm not giving away this book. I wouldn't do that to you.
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