Other Stuff Exists

Don't get too comfortable with the familiar–other stuff exists, so go explore!

Trek Lit in Review: 1967-1972

Posted by Tracy Poff on July 7, 2015

Let’s take a quick look at the first six years of Trek lit, shall we? Eleven books were published between 1967 and 1972, comprising two original novels, one nonfiction ‘making of’ book, and eight volumes of adaptations of episodes from the television show. Namely:

  1. Star Trek by James Blish (Amazon)
  2. Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds (Amazon)
  3. Star Trek 2 by James Blish (Amazon)
  4. The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield (Amazon)
  5. Star Trek 3 by James Blish (Amazon)
  6. Spock Must Die! by James Blish (Amazon)
  7. Star Trek 4 by James Blish (Amazon)
  8. Star Trek 5 by James Blish (Amazon)
  9. Star Trek 6 by James Blish (Amazon)
  10. Star Trek 7 by James Blish (Amazon)
  11. Star Trek 8 by James Blish (Amazon)

The two original novels, Mission to Horatius and Spock Must Die!, are both pretty good stories. You can see my reviews, linked above, for details, but in short I’d say they’re worth a read for anyone interested in early Trek lit. They’re on about the level of the average episode of The Original Series, which is, I suppose, what they were aiming for.

The Making of Star Trek is of great historical interest. It features plenty of interesting details about the creation of Trek, including many primary sources. The details about how, generically speaking, TV shows are made is of less interest, but the bulk of the book is specifically about Star Trek. If you want to know something about how the show and its characters developed, take a look at this one.

The bulk of the books during this period were James Blish’s adaptations, beginning with Star Trek in January 1967 and continuing through November 1972 with Star Trek 8, with more to come.

Blish’s adaptations are all of about equal quality, as far as writing is concerned (decent, but uninspired), though the quality of the stories varies quite a bit. Some suggestions:

  • “Balance of Terror” from Star Trek
  • “Mirror, Mirror” and “Amok Time” from Star Trek 3
  • “The Enterprise Incident” from Star Trek 4
  • “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” from Star Trek 8

In general, if you liked the episode, the adaptation should be acceptably entertaining, as well. This doesn’t hold if you liked the episode because of the acting, of course.

If you’re looking to read only a little from this period, then prioritize Spock Must Die!, then Mission to Horatius. Follow up with as many (or as few) of Blish’s books as seem interesting to you, if you’re still hungry for old Trek lit, after those two.

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The Art of 5TH Cell

Posted by Tracy Poff on November 11, 2014


There are generally two kinds of artbooks: those that are interesting as ‘souvenirs’ of their subject, and those that are interesting on their own merit. The categories aren’t mutually exclusive, of course.

The Art of 5TH Cell falls in the former category, though that’s not an indictment: for fans of the featured games, the book is filled with promotional images, concept art, and more that’s sure to please.

The book is divided into sections for five of 5TH Cell’s games, Scribblenauts, Lock’s Quest, Drawn to Life, Hybrid, and Run Roo Run, plus an “Edison Yan Sketchbook” section. It ends with a listing of 5TH Cell’s games with descriptions, screenshots, and information, and one page devoted to concept art from games that never made it to release.

The sections for each game contain all kinds of different art: magazine covers from Nintendo Power and Game Developer, plus sketches and line art for the same; promotional artwork; concept artwork; box art and preliminary concepts for box art; character art including early concepts; logo concepts; and lots more.

The “Edison Yan Sketchbook” section includes artwork for some of 5TH Cell’s older games from Edison Yan, who has worked with them both as an artist for their early games and Art Director for their later games, including most of those featured in this book. It’s even got preliminary artwork for the cover of this very book, a pleasingly meta addition.

I have only two real complains about The Art of 5TH Cell. The first is that it’s a book–so I can’t use the artwork in it as desktop wallpaper. I’m pretty sure that some of it originally was intended for just that purpose, so it’s a shame. The second is that I’d like to see a little more commentary from the artists. It’s great to devote so much space to the art, but a page or two of prose for each game would be welcome.

If you’d like to see for yourself what kind of art you’ll find, you can have a look at Edison Yan’s website, which includes a few of the illustrations featured in the book, as well as original artwork.

The Art of 5TH Cell was published on October 28, 2014 by UDON Entertainment.

Disclosure: this review is based on an advance copy received free for review.

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Oh, Were They Ever Happy!

Posted by Tracy Poff on March 13, 2014

The three Noonan children, mistakenly left at home without a babysitter, decide to spend their day helping out by painting the house. Oh, won’t their parents be happy!


Peter Spier’s Oh, Were They Ever Happy! follows the children from beginning (“I do not know who thought of it first, but there was plenty of paint in the garage.”) to end (“Sure looks swell! Won’t they be happy when they come home and see what we’ve done!”). As the children go along, they gradually become messier and the house gradually becomes more colorful, as the children use as many colors of paint as it takes to finish the job.


The children even clean up, when they’re done! Won’t their parents be happy!

This is a very fun book. They story’s amusing as the children go along, happily ‘helping’ by painting their house (windows and all!). With each passing page, it hardly seems that the mess could get any bigger, but turn the page and it’s messier still. The art is simple, colorful (and how!), and perfectly pleasant. Altogether, this book rather reminds me of Wacky Wednesday.

Spier won the Caldecott medal in 1978 for Noah’s Ark, which is (mostly) wordless, but has a similar style of art.

Strangely, Oh, Were They Ever Happy! seems not to be in print, and the prices at Amazon are higher than expected, but if you do come by a copy, it’s surely worth a read.

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Welcome to Equestria

Posted by Tracy Poff on April 17, 2013

Welcome to Equestria coverShining Armor and Princess Cadance, the new rulers of the Crystal Empire, have been invited to visit towns all over Equestria. As they tour the land, they write letters to Twilight Sparkle about their journey, which will end in Ponyville, where Twilight lives.

Welcome to Equestria by Olivia London is a children’s picture book featuring characters from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The story is told in two ways: first, by narrative recounting the events as Shining Armor and Princess Cadance travel; second, by the letters they write to Twilight.

The narrative is simple, as is appropriate for a children’s book, but also, frankly, pretty boring. The letters have much more character. Compare:

“They are delighted to visit Princess Celestia and Princes Luna at Canterlot Castle, and enjoy some time in the city together.”


“We arrived in Canterlot today after a lovely send-off in the Crystal Empire. It was wonderful to enjoy Canterlot knowing that it is now safe from that evil Queen Chrysalis!”

Both are simple and direct, but the second, from the letter, is a lot more fun to read.

The story isn’t anything special–there’s not any plot to speak of, just a sequence of descriptions of places Shining Armor and Cadance. The only thing tying things together is that the two pick up gifts as they travel, and give them to Twilight and her friends at the end. There’s nothing wrong with the book being very simple, but it could have been better. The show itself manages much more interesting stories with being appreciably more complicated to understand.

Welcome to Equestria sample

Of course, for a picture book, the writing is only half the story. Welcome to Equestria‘s artwork matches the show, so it’s nice enough, but it mostly consists of scenery and the occasional character posing, which isn’t very interesting to look at. Also, the art is very separated from the text, and seems somewhat superfluous. Nice to have, but not important. In a really good picture book, the text and art work together to tell the story, but that doesn’t happen in Welcome to Equestria.

Welcome to Equestria isn’t bad, and kids that like the show will probably like the book, but it’s no classic of children’s literature, either. Pick it up for fans, but otherwise there are probably better choices.

Welcome to Equestria is available in paperback or for the Kindle.

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Detective Comics #3-10 (May-December 1937)

Posted by Tracy Poff on January 13, 2013

I thought that, rather than writing a separate post for each issue of Detective Comics, it might be more instructive to collect my opinions on several issues. So, let’s look at the next eight issues, numbers 3-10, published between May and December 1937.

Speed Saunders

These stories declined in quality somewhat. The stories varied from boring to unbelievable, though some were merely mediocre. Two stories stand out.

Speed Saunders and the Mystery of the Lost Ape

In Issue #6, we have a story about a human brain being put in an ape’s body. Mysteriously, the body appears to retain the ape’s memories and personality, the human brain contributing only increased intelligence. The ape becomes violent, and ultimately throws itself and its creator off a pier, drowning them both. This story wasn’t actually very good, but it was something of a departure from the norm. A mad scientist putting a human brain in an ape’s body? That’s the kind of absurdity I can appreciate.

Speed Saunders (from DC 9)

In Issue #9, Speed thinks an old hobo looks suspicious, so he follows him around, very ineptly. Ultimately, it turns out that the man was an undercover cop, and Speed is rescued from his own incompetence by the crowd of police the undercover man brought in. But, of course, Speed is the hero, so nobody mentions that he was impeding an investigation and endangering the undercover cop.

Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise

Another comic that isn’t really worth the time. I did somewhat enjoy the device in Issue #5–the criminals were smuggling drugs by putting them in torpedoes and shooting them towards shore, where their confederates would retrieve them, thus neatly bypassing inspections at the harbor. Still, the stories tend to be very predictable, and so not very interesting. In several, Cosmo doesn’t even use a disguise, which is rather his whole gimmick, making Cosmo into just another generic detective story.

The Claws of the Red Dragon

This storyline finishes in Issue #8, and the hero, Bruce Nelson, begins other adventures with Issue #9. First things first, though: “The Claws of the Red Dragon” isn’t very good. It, by virtue of being eight issues long, avoids the pitfall that most comics in Detective Comics fall into, which is that they don’t have the time to adequately develop their stories, but it has other problems. First, it is fairly dull, most of the time. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is incoherent.

I am guessing that “The Claws of the Red Dragon” wasn’t originally intended to launch the career of Bruce Nelson as a sleuth. In the beginning, Nelson just seems to be a regular guy. The other two guests in the restaurant, Sigrid and her father, are clearly introduced as strangers in the first issue, and Nelson remarks that it’s a very strange coincidence that the stranger has a ring identical to his own. By the end, Nelson and von Holtzendorff have known each other for some time, and it was in fact von Holtzendorff who gave Nelson the ring. Also, by the end of the story, Nelson is known to the Chinese villains, having apparently foiled some plot of theirs in the past. All this adds up to a poorly planned story, which was modified after it began, in order to provide a hook for a sequel.

After “The Claws of the Red Dragon” finishes, Nelson stars in a two-issue story, in Issues #9 and #10, called “The Blood of the Lotus”. This story, too, features Chinese villains, and Nelson himself now has a Chinese servant. It’s a little better, perhaps, than “The Claws of the Red Dragon”, but it’s still not very interesting.


At the end of the first story, Sally is hired as a spy, too, and becomes a co-star of the comic. The stories are decent, if unspectacular. I do appreciate that, although the stories are episodic, there is some continuity. We see it more, starting with Issue #11, where they spend several issues in Paris as a result of the events of Issue #10.

Sally gets her share of heroic moments, I suppose. She’s still treated as somewhat inferior to Bart, and she doesn’t always have a complete plan, but she does show some competence as a spy, from time to time.

Buck Marshall

Maybe I just don’t like Westerns, but these stories are incredibly boring. Enough so that I stopped reading them, after Issue #9. The main problem is that they are entirely predictable. The basic format of each story is, essentially, this: Buck is on his way to see his friend the sheriff, when something crime-related happens–usually some shots are fired, or he comes across another man on horseback. Then, when he reaches the sheriff, it turns out that he’s just in time–the sheriff is heading out to investigate a crime that has just been reported. Buck scouts around a bit, and the real criminal almost always turns out to be the one who reported the crime–they’re always trying to pin crimes they committed on their rivals.

The stories are not merely repetitive and predictable, but also pretty dull, so my reading experience should be improved substantially by skipping these.

Slam Bradley

If I’m giving out an award for most improved, it goes to Slam Bradley. The stories aren’t that different, and they really still aren’t that good, but I’ve begun enjoying them much more than I did the first couple. Slam is still an absurd, hyper-masculine fool, but the comics began to make fun of that, a bit, and they are over the top in an amusing, rather than infuriating, way.

Of note is that the third issue’s Slam Bradley story is drawn by Jim Bettersworth, and the art is much worse. Fortunately, Shuster returns in the next issue.

Point of interest: we learn, in Issue #8, that Slam and Shorty live in Cleveland. Together. Sharing one bed. And wearing matching pajamas, too. You’d think that would put a cramp in Slam’s style, but I guess it works for him. Shorty gets a great line, there: upon being awakened by Slam, and told that a criminal has escaped, he replies “I don’t care if the planet has escaped from its orbit–all I want to do is sleep!”.


Mr. Chang returns for a few issues, and his stories aren’t especially bad, but they aren’t especially good, either.

A new comic, Larry Steele, begins in Issue #5. The first story is a five-issue story involving a mad scientist, and it’s boring. Not a great addition to the magazine.

There are lots of short comics by Alger, which are of fairly consistent, if not great, quality. They’re generally predictable, though occasionally clever.


The first year of Detective Comics is unimpressive, with a few decent comics, and quite a few very bad ones. My favorite for the year has to be Slam Bradley, which is fun, even if it’s not deep. Both Spy! and Slam Bradley showed improvement, over the course of the year. Most of these early comics are just not going to be satisfying to a modern reader, though some are not without merit. Unless you’re reading them out of interest in the history of comics, though, I’m afraid I’d have to recommend against reading these–they just aren’t worth the time, given the multitude of better, later comics.

So, that’s it for 1937! Batman won’t show up in Detective Comics until 1939, but 1938 does mark the beginning of Action Comics, which means the introduction of Superman. I’m looking forward to it!

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30-Second Bunnies Theatre

Posted by Tracy Poff on December 24, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve written a review here, so let’s have a look at something lighthearted to start off: 30-Second Bunnies Theatre.

As the screencap will indicate to some of you, I’ve recently started using Netflix, and I’ve been pretty impressed with the selection. One thing that it lacks, though, is an easy way to find shorts. I don’t always have two hours to spend on a movie, but I might like to spend a few minutes watching something when I’ve got a bit of free time. Sadly, I’ve not yet found a way to display only shorts–and probably there’s only a very limited selection of them available, anyway.

But enough of that.

30-Second Bunnies Theatre is a collection of short episodes spoofing movies, with bunnies. Some of them are pretty amusing, though mostly they just seem to summarize the film in question.

3x09: Fight Club

Fight Club... with bunnies. I approve of this.

The basic format of each short is pretty simple: take the more memorable scenes/lines from the film, compress each to about a second, and animate it with bunnies. String these together in order, and you have an extremely abbreviated summary of the film.

The good news is that the selection of scenes (in those episodes I’ve seen, anyway) is good and the transition to animation and bunnies is usually amusing. The bad news is that the shorts will be incomprehensible if you’ve not seen the original film, and they tend more toward summary than parody. It’s worth checking out the shorts for films you’ve seen, when you’ve got the time, but it’s not worth going out of your way to see them, and I’d certainly not recommend watching the spoofs for any films you haven’t seen.

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Tiny Titans #1

Posted by Tracy Poff on October 16, 2011

Well, I called the blog Other Stuff Exists and said that it was to keep me from focusing on just one thing, and I’ve been reviewing almost entirely kids’ books. So, this time I’ll take my own advice and try something different… a comic book.

Well, not too different.

How could I resist this cover? They're adorable!

Tiny Titans is a spin-off of the Teen Titans comics, following around younger versions of the Teen Titans, who attend Sidekick City Elementary. This issue contains several very short stories, including “Dog’s Best Friend” and “Speedy Quiz”, and several that are simply labeled “tiny titans.”

The only thing there really is to say about this comic is that it is very cute. There are silly jokes, like pointing out the fact that Speedy doesn’t have super-speed, but this issue is carried by its cute artwork and amusing premise. That’s enough, though, for one issue.

Later, Slade will introduce the substitute teacher... Mr. Trigon. Poor kids.

This whole issue had me smiling and giggling as I read it, so I’ve got to call it a success.

This issue, along with the next five, can be found collected in Tiny Titans Volume 1: Welcome to the Treehouse.

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The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food – Kindle Comparison

Posted by Tracy Poff on October 8, 2011

When I reviewed the first two Berenstain Bears books, The Big Honey Hunt and The Bike Lesson, I mentioned that although they were available for the Kindle, I wasn’t sure how good a colorful children’s picture book would look on the grayscale e-ink screen of the Kindle.

On account of the recently reduced prices for Kindles, I have just purchased a Kindle Keyboard, which I’m enjoying, so far. After I’d played around with it a bit, I remembered my previous concern for how picture books would look, and decided I’d find out. I looked around a little, and ultimately got a sample of The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food.

To begin the comparison, let’s first look at the beginning of the print version.

I’ve not bothered to scan the whole right page, but you can see enough for our purposes. Next, let’s look at the sample on Kindle for PC.

You can see (if you click the image to view it full-sized) that the illustration is quite small. However, it has had the top of the tree drawn in, which I suppose is nice. The next paragraph, which, in the print version, is on the same page, has been moved to a new page in the Kindle version.

What exactly has happened, here? These two pages are both showing parts of the original illustration, but in the second, the tree house has been removed, and the illustration from the right page has been joined up with the remaining illustration from the left page. The illustration is, again, quite small.

I suppose that the book looks okay on Kindle for PC, but it’s not the same as the print version. The illustrations are difficult to see and have been redrawn a bit, but not (as far as I can see from the sample) with much creativity–no fun revelations here.

How about on the actual Kindle, then?

I should note that on the actual Kindle, the contrast is much better–the background is significantly lighter than it appears in this picture.

Of course, it looks substantially similar to the pictures of Kindle for PC, which is natural since it’s the same book sample. However, two things are immediately apparent: first, the tiny, grainy images on the Kindle screen remind me of the web circa 1996; second, without the color, these images just aren’t that nice.

In my opinion, these books aren’t really worth purchasing for the Kindle. The artwork is really what carries these books, and it’s simply not reproduced well on the Kindle–neither the actual Kindle nor the Kindle for PC software. This isn’t entirely the fault of the Kindle itself–the artwork looks bad in the file the Kindle is displaying, so of course it can’t make it look any better. Still, if this book is representative of the quality of the Berenstain Bears books on the Kindle, I’d strongly recommend buying paper versions, instead.

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What’s Wrong with… The Berenstain Bears?

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 8, 2011

The Berenstain Bears series is a well-known and loved set of children’s picture books, some of which I, too, enjoyed immensely. But it’s hard to create hundreds of books without some bad stuff slipping though, so let’s have a look at some of the problems with the books I’ve reviewed, so far.

Ragin’ Mama and the Lying Covers

It sounds like a good name for a band, to me, and it pretty succinctly describes the problem with some of these books.

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth (1983), The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food (1985), The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners (1985)

Notice any similarities in these? In these, and quite a few others, Mama is standing off to the left, looking at her family, furious. This is partly just laziness in composition of the image–the adults are often standing off to the left in Berenstain Bears covers, angry or not, but Mama is the usually the one raging over some slight–Papa is more likely to join in on whatever misbehavior has Mama so angry.

But, this isn’t even accurate. Although Mama is generally dispensing sage wisdom from on high (“Stop doing that! Don’t! Be more polite!” and on, and on, and on..), she doesn’t generally actually get very angry. The covers that depict her as some kind of inhuman (un-bear?) monster, raging at her family and the world, are generally just lying about what’s happening in the book. It’s like putting Wolverine on the covers of comics, even if he only gets a brief cameo–I guess an angry Mama Bear sells books.


A good name for a debut album? Ragin’ Mama and the Lying Covers present Hypocrisy, in their studio debut! Maybe not.

Some of the Berenstain Bears books are overly moralizing, and even the often-amusing artwork can’t always make up for that. But what’s especially bad about it is that Mama isn’t always the paragon of virtue she is portrayed as. I noted in my review of The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners that I thought Mama’s approach to correcting her children’s manners–screaming at them–was worse than the ‘crimes’ that she was complaining about, like ‘playing with food.’ Let’s have a look at the pages that I’m talking about.

The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners (1985)

Maybe it makes me a liberal hippy something-or-other, but I just don’t think that screaming at your children and beating your fists on the table while they’re trying to eat is the best parenting method. It certainly doesn’t seem polite. Intimidating, yes. Polite, no.

I mentioned in my review that The Berenstain Bears in the Freaky Funhouse contains a spectacular example of hypocrisy: Mama repeatedly scolds her children for gossiping about grownups, but feels no compunction against gossiping, herself. The lesson, of course, is that some people are more equal than others, and adults are above children on the ladder of ‘more equal.’ Pure hypocrisy.

This isn’t one of the most common problems with Berenstain Bears books–Mama is usually portrayed as the perfect embodiment of whatever virtue the book is pushing, which can be pretty irritating–but it is one of the worst. If you want to try to teach kids good morals, you’d better examine your own, first. Moralist, chastise thyself.

Form Follows Function

Good for design, not so much for writing children’s books. Some Berenstain Bears books have a story that’s just an excuse to teach a lesson. I presume that the idea was that parents would think “Gee, my kids are ungrateful brats, how can I get them to shut up and stop asking for new toys?” Said parents would then see The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings in the store, and know that it was the right tool for the job. Ditto for The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners, obviously a prop for parents hoping to introduce a system of harsh punishments for minor transgressions, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, for parents with children who (through no fault of the parents!) eat too much candy, and The Berenstain Bears and the Truth, for parents whose children are dirty liars.

Maybe I’m being unfair to these books. The scene with the ever-more-exotic imaginary bird in The Berenstain Bears and the Truth is amusing, and… well, the artwork is pretty competent in the others. The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings teaches some science. Incorrect science, but, hey, at least they tried!

What have we learned?

There’s one common theme here–the books are overly moralizing, and the flaws all stem from that problem, either through incompetence or zeal. The moral should reveal itself naturally through the story. If you start by thinking “How can I teach those brats to be civil?” and write the story from there, you’ve made one mistake (and a big one) already.

In short, your story needs to be sincere. If you’ve got an ulterior motive, it’ll show.

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The Berenstain Bears in the Freaky Funhouse

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 3, 2011

It’s summer, and Brother and Sister Bear, Cousin Fred, and Queenie McBear can’t agree on what to do. Luckily for them, the circus comes to town. In order to raise money for a new hospital wing, Ralph Ripoff has asked his friend, Captain Billy, to bring his circus to town, and share the profits with Dr. Gert Grizzly, for the hospital. But something seems crooked about this circus. Will the cubs uncover the truth about the circus and save the new hospital wing, or will they be sleeping with the fishes?

The Berenstain Bears in the Freaky Funhouse by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a children’s chapter book starring the Berenstain Bears. Unlike the picture books, which feature full-page, full-color illustrations, this book features mostly smaller, black-and-white illustrations, plus a few full-page, black-and-white illustrations.

The art is pretty good, even without any color. The expressions on the bears’ faces are, as usual for a Berenstain Bears book, odd, but this time the strange expressions are evil grins on the bad guys’ faces, so that’s fine. There are plenty of great illustrations of the circus, including the crooked games. Seeing Cousin Fred struggle to lift the weighted bottle is great.

The story is pretty good. The mystery of exactly who is cheating whom, and how the cubs will save the hospital wing, is very nice, for a children’s book, but the bears’ acting as the authors’ voices is, as usual, annoying. It’s inconsistent, too: here, Cousin Fred insists that video games will rot your brain, and he’d rather do anything than play games, but in The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings, we learn that Cousin Fred has a large video game collection, which Brother Bear is jealous of. Of course, in that book, Mama complains about Brother’s desire for video games, so we get an anti-gaming message, either way.

It’s also a bit irritating when Mama insists that she will not tolerate cubs gossiping about grown-ups, and then she and Papa immediately proceed to do exactly that. I’d initially thought that it was going to be a lesson for Papa, that grown-ups, too, shouldn’t talk about others behind their backs, but, no, it was just a lesson that kids should never question adults. Later, when a whole group of the adults are gossiping about Dr. Gert and Ralph, and Sister interjects with a comment, Mama again scolds her for gossiping. It’s just hypocrisy, frankly.

But there are some good lessons in there, too. Always read things before you sign them, for one. Be wary of anyone that claims they’re doing evil for good reasons, for another. Don’t trust carnival games, too.

The Berenstain Bears in the Freaky Funhouse is a fun book. I spent about twenty minutes reading it, so it might provide an hour or two of good entertainment for a child, especially given the interesting illustrations. Definitely a good book for fans of the Berenstain Bears.

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