Rocker Moms v. Soccer Moms

alternative%2Babcs Rocker Moms v. Soccer MomsB is for Boombox”; “F is for Flames”; “M is for Mohawk.”
— from Alternative ABCs by 13th Floor

Okay. I know I’m not the intended audience for this book, as a parent or as a children’s book reviewer. I’m not young, hip, or edgy — quite the opposite on all counts. But AMMO Books sent this no-baby-appeal board book to the Horn Book, so it’s fair game, I say.

Alternative ABCs is an unfocused grab-bag mash-up of anything that smells even remotely counterculture-y or anti-establishment. We’ve got the twenty-six letters represented by such things as Earth Day and hot rods, skulls and tattoo ink, quarter pipes and vegetarians. (Hey! I’m a vegetarian! Maybe they aretalking to me.) Adding to the noise, the often unreadable text and chaotic graphic design completely overwhelm each double-page spread.

This hipster baby shower gift (if hipster parents-to-be have showers) has me looking more affectionately at the previously maligned Baby Goes Beep board book — at least that baby’s got kid appeal. Also, I’m reminded of Candlewick’s 2009 Art for Baby, which while taking a gimmicky highbrow approach to the concept book still has the right stuff to engage the youngest book lover. Alternative ABCs offers nothing for infants and toddlers beyond a lot of attitude and thick, sturdy, chewable pages.

On their website, the publisher admits as much: “This is the board book that Soccer Moms run from and Rocker Moms gravitate to.” Come on, AMMO Books, give Rocker Moms a bit more credit. Why wouldn’t they want to stimulate their babies’ interest in books as much as anyone in mom jeans?

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Kitty Flynn About Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is executive editor of The Horn Book Guide.

Comments

  1. KT Horning says:

    >I dunno. Looks a little tame for the rocker moms. Maira Kalman is more their style, I think.

    And, c'mon, if they'd done their research they would have know that V is for VEGAN, not VEGETARIAN.

  2. >I wish a vegan cookbook would come out of the box…

  3. >I don't think they could make up their minds about who rocker moms are or what they like. Any vegan rocker moms out there? Care to chime in?

  4. Jeanette Larson says:

    >Why can't V be for Vegetarian? All vegans are vegetarian but not all vegetarians are vegan.

  5. >Do punk-rock chicks really call it a "boombox"? Why not "B is for Badass"? :) Makes me think of the "Freaks & Geeks" (RIP) episode where Daniel (before-he-was-movie-star-famous-but-was-still-broodingly-beautiful-*sigh* James Franco) tries to change his image from stoner to punker. The heavily pierced girl he's trying to impress calls him out: "You know what punkers don't do? Call themselves punkers."

  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >"Hey, I'm hip–LOL, laughing out loud; WTF, why the face?" (Modern Family)

  7. >This is the kind of thing that is – in my opinion – not targeted at the actual target audience, but instead, at people who know and love the target audience but haven't the first clue what might actually appeal (or not.) I have pink hair and tattoos as well as a three-year-old son (though I listen to far more hip hop than alterna-anything), and would probably be squarely in what ought to be the target audience for this book, but the book itself fills me with rage and aggravation. So I will probably get at least one, possibly from my aunt.

  8. >katie: exactly. My favorite pinky/purply-haired, pierced, tattooed mama friend told me once that she couldn't stand baby clothes with skulls on them, but her child-free friends thought black onesies with skulls and crossbones were hilarious and an appropriate look.

  9. >I'm sad that G isn't for "guyliner."

  10. >I'll take the decidedly non-edgy, but developmentally appropriate, allure of Baby Goes Beep any day.

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