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Rocket Writes a Story - Tad Hills I'm baffled by the high reviews for this book. It's the time-tested story of a puppy learning to write. I just didn't get it. Much like Marc Brown's Arthur books, I have no idea why the characters in this story need to be animals. It's token fantasy displacement with the only effect being to make the characters seem more cute. But a good illustrator knows how to make children cute, so why do we need it to be a puppy and Tweety Bird?

When I displace into an animal my identifying with the main character, I usually expect to experience something by 'being' the animal. For example, Wilbur's fear for his life in Charlotte's Web is gained by the fact that humans eat animals, and I could sense that horror. Even Bugs Bunny is always being hunted by one predator or the other.

Sure, I'm a hypocrite. This problem doesn't bother me nearly as much in the early Berenstain bears books (the later ones, yes), or in Hoban's Frances books. Authors and illustrators should know it's a device, and not just use it because they can. We expect major choices in writing and painting to be well thought out, and this one just isn't.