Here Come the Tuckers, by Jo Mendel


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Originally uploaded by myredtie

Once upon a time when I was very, very young, I was rummaging through my grandmother’s treasure trove of a basement and found this children’s book. From the moment I saw it I was hooked. It is the story about a family and their move. Coming from a family that moved around a lot, I could really relate to the topic of the book. I remember spending long periods of time studying the pictures in this book and wondering if they were really perfect or did they feel the things that I felt during a move like fear, loss, uncertainty, and sometimes anger. If they felt those things, they definitely didn’t show them. In this book, everyone is perfect and they all look perfect also. The girls all wear dresses and bake, and the boy plays sports and helps the dad with outdoor chores. I know, it is a horrible stereotype. It reminds me of the word problems in old math books. The ones where the girls are always trying to figure out their measurements to bake a cake, and the boys are trying to figure out how fast they can climb the mountain.

I am not sure that this was a healthy book for young children to read. If I had a child, I think I would raise them on books that may not show perfection, but build character. Books that in some way show an imperfect person or family facing an imperfect situation and coming up with a working, but maybe not perfect solution. I would show them books that had chubby girls and boys with glasses. I would read to them books that showed mothers who had the beginnings of crows feet and fathers who were balding.

I was also raised on children’s books that told bible stories and showed incredible pictures. Who needs superman when you have Samson and Goliath? They were good stories that showed human weakness and divine forgiveness.

I still have a fondness for this book because I spent so much time with it growing up. I also like it because shortly after finding it grandmother noticed me looking at it a lot and told me to go ahead and take it home with me. She saw us move around a lot, and she witnessed firsthand the toll it takes on the nerves of everyone in the family. I think she thought this book might be a way that she could help, or maybe she didn’t put that much thought into it. She passed away a few years ago at the age of 91, and I now wish I had taken this book to her and asked her why she gave it to me. Whatever the reason I did enjoy the book growing up, even though it showed a very stereotypic and perfect family. Good heavens, even the dog was perfect in the book.

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