This post is way overdue. When Shlomo was a baby, my mother bought him a book, called “Peekaboo, Baby!”
I’m sure you can guess what it is all about. Here’s the story:
Who’s hiding behind the rabbit? Peekaboo! [mulatto girl baby, all huddled up]
Who’s hiding under the hat? Peekaboo! [white boy baby with blond hair, missing two shoes and a sock]
Who’s hiding behind the blocks? Peekaboo! [brown boy baby]
Who’s hiding behind the book? Peekaboo! [yellow boy baby,sitting kind of scrunched up]
Who’s hiding behind the bib? Peekaboo! [white boy baby]
Who’s hiding behind the towel? Peekaboo! [white boy baby]
Who’s hiding under the blanket? Peekaboo! [white boy baby, with blond hair and a tan]
Now, let me tell you why this story bugs me so much.
- There are 7 children in the book. Only one is a girl.
- There are 7 children in the book; one is Asian, one mulatto, and one black – the rest are white.
- The girl and the Asian are scrunched up, in what looks like an effort to make them take up as little space as possible. (New insight, thanks Yitzchak.)
- The book is incredibly stupid. It doesn’t even say, “Good night!” on the last page – it just says, “Peekaboo!” Give me a break, Sebastien Braun. My kids are smarter than this.
- Only the white boy babies sleep, eat, or bathe.
- It’s a misogynist, racist, book – did I mention that? And it’s kind of sickening that this kind of stupidity and racism is being sold to babies.
So here’s how we read the book. We’re not the nicest, or the most creative. But it’s such a boring book that we couldn’t stand to read just the text, and had to find some way to vary the answers to the questions.
Who’s hiding behind the rabbit? A mulatto girl baby. She’s the only girl in this book.
Who’s hiding behind the hat? A WASPy boy baby.
Who’s hiding behind the blocks? A brown boy baby.
Who’s hiding behind the books? A yellow boy baby. Yellow babies aren’t the only ones who read books!
Who’s hiding behind the bib? A dirty WASPy baby.
Who’s hiding behind the towel? A clean WASPy baby.
Who’s hiding behind the blanket? For Shlomo we read: A Shlomo! / For Tova: A sleeping WASPy baby.
I mean, you may as well add some adjectives and insights to this boring book. Make your kids think, and all that kind of useless crap.
Okay, I agree. The “WASPy” part is not nice. But as long as we live in Israel, our kids have no idea what WASP stands for. And we’re not advocating violence. We’re just giving the white babies a description akin to those of the others.
That’s fair, right?
Welcome to Chana and Yitzchak’s strong and true sense of justice, and warped sense of humor. We may not be popular, but I think we’re doing okay.