Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not for the Faint of Heart

I guess we both are 'faint of heart', then, because this book disappointed us.  I was looking forward to this particular read-aloud by Ernest Thompson Seton:

But was mainly left with a sad taste in my mouth.  Just a few posts ago I highlighted this book, saying we were anticipating its stories; I'm posting again to add a caveat, especially for parents of younger readers.  

This book, as much as it captures the real essence of wild animals in their native environments, also does a fine job of drawing attention to how horrible human beings can be to those animals in those native environments.  Namely to say that the humans in this book were mainly fixated on claiming the land strictly for themselves, for ridding the scape of all wolves, for torturing both domesticated and wild horses to death...... as much as the author took part in introducing us to stand-out representatives of various species (and they were a pleasure to meet), he also often played a significant role in bringing many of them to their eventual demise.  

Max picked up on this quickly and by the time we got through the chapter titled "The Pacing Mustang", he was spitting mad.  There were parts in several of the chapters that I did not want to read, especially out loud.  I was disappointed and saddened.  Needless to say, we won't be finishing this one.  Granted, the time period for this book was set in the late 1800's, but the "romance" of the Wild West did not seduce us into seeing past the cruelty that was inflicted.  We stopped right there and had enough.  

Harsh reality and much food for thought, so we're thinking about it.  What can WE do to help humans and animals live in more attuned harmony for the benefit of all species?  That's the question that seems almost too big to answer.  It's my job as a parent to try to raise an intelligent, caring, thoughtful and 'educated' youngster who is aware of a deeper reality, one that the world's future may depend on.  I guess Mr. Seton can be credited for getting us a little riled up then, huh?  Sigh.    

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