Friday, September 8, 2017

Tragedy Does Not Rhyme

When I came across The Little Chapel That Stood, I was immediately taken in by the cover and the use of the survival of St. Paul's chapel on 9/11 as a framing device to teach children about what happened that day.  I assumed that St. Paul would be used as a symbol of hope and resilience and that it would, like many books about horrific events, ease children into learning about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Like Number the Stars, which teaches children about the Holocaust by focusing on the Resistance (like Mr. Rogers' reminder to look for the helpers), or several of the books I wrote about here which focus on lost loveys as a way to teach children about the Holocaust, I assumed that The Little Chapel That Stood would be a paean to resistance and resilience.

Well, I shouldn't have judged a book by its cover.

Rhyming and tragedy do not go well together.  Sure, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" rhymes, but A.B. Curtiss is no Tennyson.  With lines like "Two planes hijaced by/ a terrorist crew/Struck the Twin Towers:/ no warning, no clue!" and "One Tower, the other/ they fell, fell, fell," this book is in extremely poor taste.

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