Saturday, July 6, 2019

Review - The naughty Naughty Chair

The naughty Naughty Chair
by Connie Jessop
illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs
Date: 2019
Publisher: Wordzworth Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 30
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

One day Robert was very bold and his Mother sent him to the Naughty Chair.

Robert hated the Naughty Chair. He wished that he could get rid of it.

Suddenly, the Naughty Chair lifted from the floor.

Robert was still sitting in it.

Was his wish coming true? How would Robert get off the chair?!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

There are some strange picture books out there.

This is the story of a naughty boy named Robert who isn't so much "bold" as "bratty". After tying his sister's shoelaces together, he's sent to sit on the naughty chair for 15 minutes. He wishes he could get rid of said naughty chair. All of a sudden, it starts rising into the air. Then it flies out the door! For some reason, Robert thinks he's getting his wish (even though he's going with the flying chair). It dumps him (and the blameless dog) in the pond and flies off into the sunset. Mum decides there will be no more naughty chairs in the house (convenient, considering it just flew away), and she has to come up with other punishments for her kids.

There is controversy over whether time-out punishment is more helpful than harmful. This book doesn't really address that (although, if the chair dumps your kid in a pond, I'd lean toward "harmful"). I'm afraid that, as opinions about child discipline change, this book will seem like a dated relic. I can't quite tell if the book is advocating for or against naughty chairs; after all, most run-of-the-mill chairs don't have a mind of their own and potentially lethal designs on your kids. Still, if the chair hadn't dumped Robert in the pond, would Mum still have used that form of discipline? Probably.

I'm struggling to find something to like here. I guess the pictures aren't too bad, although the sentient chair with the creepy moving eyes is just plain odd. I think I would've rather read an origin story about the chair, rather than a mundane story about a boy who does a stereotypically naughty thing. I mean, who wouldn't want to know where an intelligent chair came from? Who built it? Why? Has it had other owners? Are they still alive (or have they all drowned)? How can it fly? Where does it go after it dumps children in bodies of water? Inquiring minds want to know.

There are probably some children who will get a giggle out of this, but unless they're familiar with the concept of a naughty chair, they might need someone to explain it to them. I'm afraid I didn't really enjoy this book. Maybe I'm just not a fan of anthropomorphized furniture.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wordzworth Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2 out of 5

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