Tuesday, August 30, 2016

When Robin the Pig... Children's Book by Matal - You'll Have to Decide...

On a farm on a hill lived Robin the Pig,

With his mother, Michelle, and his father named Nick.
And he had three sisters, Beth, Lola and Mary,
As well as three brothers, Fred, Bobby and Harry.
They were as happy as one can be – 
A harmonious, loving family.

When Robin the Pig 
  met Lily the Chick:
 A Love Story in Rhymes

By Matal

Sometime reading a new style of book, together with a storyline that is different for several reasons, I stop to question myself. In this case, I even went out to read the other reviews, which I rarely do. My issue is about age appropriateness. It is listed as a children's book, but doesn't have an age range that I could find.

Talking about love and marriage and diversity seemed beyond the scope of a children's book, in my opinion. Yet the style and writing is undoubtedly intended for young children.

The characters are simply drawn and engaging to children as individuals. There is none of the normal full-page color stories that we have come to expect. That is not my point, though. It is true that the children will engage with each character as we meet them. But will they understand what the story is about? Sure, if the book is read to them, perhaps the parents can explain that the story is about Mommy and Daddy and how they met... that is, if mommy is a chicken and daddy is a pig. Because the whole reason behind the book is that the pig and chicken are different...

Bottom line though is how old is a child when they are ready to talk about love and marriage? Without the added issue of diversity? 

When a child may become interested in growing up and being married--well, that's pretend, isn't it? Do we really want to bring in vibes of family negativism and hate between diverse animals (forget about the biology at the moment) to spoil children's dreams?

I believe this story line is for older children into teens...and should not be represented in a child's format, for young children, 2-8 or 9. However, the format is not appropriate for a tween or teen book...

The whole farm will say you are crazy as hell,* 
You’ll bring sorrow to us, more than we can tell.” 
Thus spoke his father and mother as well, 
And his brothers and sisters cried out with a yell:
“Oh brother, dear brother, what have you done? 
If you don’t leave her, you’d better be gone.”
 But Robin said: “If you speak as one voice, 
Against my love, against my free choice, 
Against my angel that heaven sent, 
I will leave you forever!” And off he went.
*crazy as hell" using slang like this is inappropriate in a child's story...

Note that the characters themselves are old enough to go out on their own...and they are old enough to fall in love and consider getting married and having a family. By the way, if the child is old enough to be in those situations, they would know enough about biology that negates the ending as presented... I believe that's correct from my school years...

The chicken's story runs along the same story, so I didn't repeat...

I was disappointed with the book, not because it is not a fairly good story, but that, in my opinion, older related content is being substituted in what is being sold as children's books. Are we no longer trying to preserve the innocence of the young? This is one reader speaking out for keeping those days of when dreaming of being married meant dressing up in high heel shoes with curtains around our shoulders...and dreaming happily of when we would be old enough to be like mommy and daddy...soooo many years from now... and never, never, about getting into fights with family about who we are supposed to love.

You decide...but I can't recommend... And do, please, let me know if you disagree with my recommendation.


The guy on the picture above is me. My real name is Alex Matis. From an early age I have conceived and illustrated numerous children’s stories and comics for a private audience. Besides working in the biotech and health care industry his love for drawing cartoons and creating children’s books has always remained an important part of my life. Under the pen name MATAL, I have started writing and illustrating my own children’s stories for a wider audience mid-2015. Having lived in Germany and the United Kingdom I am currently living with my wife and three children in Vienna, Austria. My first book “Ollie the Owl” has been published as ebook and paperback in English and German. My second book titled “When Robin the Pig met Lily the Chick – A Love Story in Rhymes” was launched in August 2016. Further books are currently in the making and will be published on an ongoing basis. I hope you enjoy my stories and have fun.
All the best

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