The Conquerors by David McKee is a story of a general who loves his country and who invades and conquers all the other countries. Finally there is only one small country left, and when he goes to invade, they are welcomed with warm arms instead. The soldiers and even the general himself happily learn about and learn to love their culture, and everybody goes home happy – including the people of the small country.
Pros: There are some really healthy boundaries modeled here. The soldiers are free to do as they please, and it’s acceptance not fighting that preserves the other country’s integrity.
Cons: Younger readers might not *get* it on the first pass. My 6 year old liked the story, but it’s hard to tell if he consciously understood the moral.
Overall: I love this story. It’s so much deeper than it is on the surface, and kids might not get it at first, BUT it’s exactly the kind of limbic modeling that simmers in the background of their brains and colors how they see the world.
Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown follows Mr. Tiger who lives in a drab world of animals walking on two legs. He decides he needs something more, and starts to act truer to his tiger nature. Enough is enough, however, and his friends ask him to take his wild to the wild. He loves the idea, and goes. Soon he misses home and comes back to discover that his friends have been inspired to act just a bit more wild themselves.
Pros: This is a great story of Mr. Tiger discovering his own unique needs, and doing what it takes to get them met. In doing so, he models the same for his friends. There’s an added bonus of testing perceived limits and enforcing boundaries without shame.
Overall: I like it. I’m inspired to be myself and not care what other people think.
In The Pink Refrigerator by Tim Egan, Dodsworth the mouse is content with his boring life, then starts finding invitations to explore. He discovers new interests, then sets out on his own to find more.
Pros: It models great boundaries – there is no pressure to do any of the stuff, and he sticks up for his own desires. There is no problem with his current/previous life, either. No shaming. It’s a great invitation to explore and try new things.
Overall: When the book was done, it left me with an immense feeling of calm and well being.