|"This drivel pollutes children's minds," says a professor of childhood literature.|
The mainstream media periodically publish stories of one ailment or another affecting today's youth: Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder ("ADHD"), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ("OCD"), and so on. Every other day or so, these disorders du jour are cited in op-ed pieces by said media lamenting the sad state of scholastic achievement as factors contributing to low test scores, the general inability to perform simple arithmetic, universally poor reading / writing skills, etc. Having had the misfortune the other day of reading Big Machines! Big Buildings! (originally published as The Lot at the End of My Block) by Kevin Lewis, the Gerbil has definitively concluded terribly written children's books are the leading cause of all the younger generation's misfortunes.
"Terrible" does not even begin to describe how utterly vapid, annoying, and excruciatingly painful it is to read Big Machines! Big Buildings! The book attempts to relay the story of a boy watching a new apartment building being constructed by describing the sequence of events from beginning to end. Each turn of the page builds on the prior by repeating everything on the prior page. The story does not reach its ultimate crescendo until page 25, which contains a 93 word sentence (no exaggeration) summarizing the entire story up to that point.
"This is really a grammatical and stylistic travesty on so many levels," remarked Dr. Nevin Norman, professor of Childhood Literature at Nottingham University in Nanick, Nebraska. "The sentences in Big Machines! Big Buildings! are examples of how not to write." When asked if such literary disasters could contribute to the aforementioned disorders du jour, Dr. Norman replied, "Absolutely. Incessant repetition, incredibly long run-on sentences, on and on -- all of this directly impacts the highly impressionable minds of children during their most formative years. This drivel pollutes their minds when they are in their most fragile states!"
Big Machines! Big Buildings! has also been linked to a number of self-inflicted parental injuries. "We have had a couple of instances in which parents defenestrated themselves during bedtime story-telling -- before they even reached page six,"stated Peter Pentick, Sheriff of Potswooga County, Pennsylvania." Said one such parent who wished to remain anonymous, "I could not take the never-ending droning of my own voice. It was just...too much." There have also been several reports of sudden, acute asthma attacks during readings of Big Machines! Big Buildings! "The parents apparently can't suck in enough air while reading the insanely long run-on sentences," explained Dr. Norman.
Clearly, we do not recommend Big Machines! Big Buildings! as suitable reading material for anyone, anywhere, of any age. We can only hope today's youth (and their parents) will survive the ongoing onslaught of such insidious childhood literature.