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OT: At What Age is "Peter Rabbit" Appropriate for Kids?

My child is nearly three, and my mom is visiting. Yesterday I was enjoying her babysitting services, and overheard her reading this book close to bedtime. I had forgotten the exact storyline, but it defintiely got me thinking about what age to begin to introduce ideas of death to a kid. At one point in the story, Peter Rabbit is running from the farmer, and gets caught on a fence, and starts crying thinking he is "lost". I asked my mom if that was an appropriate book, and she thought that it was not a problem at all. What do you all think?

Mon. Oct 9, 9:31am

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My kid was watching Charlotte's Web at that age, and it certainly provoked some discussion. But I see that as a constructive thing. Death takes a while for a kid to understand, but it's such a basic part of life that I don't think you can (or should) hide it.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 9:51 AM

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i actually had this death and children conversation with a friend a few years ago. we assumed that death is something which you come to understand gradually. otherwise, wouldn't you remember that tragic day when you suddenly understood it? i don't ever remember one day standing out where i suddenly realized that everyone, including myself, would die. i don't know anyone else who had a sudden eye-opening experience about it either. it has got to be something you understand gradually.

i'm sorry, i know that doesn't answer the OP's question. but i think that stories such as peter rabbit are ways to ease children into the idea of death. morbid, i know, but i think children would rather be exposed to death for the first time in that way than at a relative's funeral when they're older.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 12:43 PM

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i am 37. i saw bambi when i was about 5. i have never forgotten the killing of bambi's mother. i think learning about death as a result of a story about a person who kills an animal is pretty harsh. it's more a lesson in murder than in natural death. but i do think learning about death through a stroy about a person or animal who dies as a result of an illness or old age would be advantageous when an actual death occurs in the child's circle of family and friends.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 12:53 PM

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to 12:53 from 12:43. i totally agree with you. i didn't specify the difference between stories about "nice" deaths and those with violent deaths. i'm 27 now and still can't watch bambi! but i also think that seeing it in images on tv is much more realistic, even as a cartoon, than reading it in a book, even with pictures. hopefully children's book illustrators don't show horrible death pictures. maybe that's just because i'm very visual. but i have also seen tough consequences from explaining death as being sick or falling asleep. i've seen kids who think that they are at the doctor's office because they are dying. or they're afraid to go to sleep because they might not wake up. i don't know the right answer here, i'm just putting everything out there.

still on the subject but a little out there - for school-age kids, how do you explain things like the amish school shooting? i know you can shelter young kids from the news, but eventually they get information from other sources as well.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 1:04 PM

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OT: At What Age is "Peter Rabbit" Appropriate for Kids?

Since time immemorial the best loved children's stories like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Bambi, The Lion King etc., have been laced with death, loss and gore. Peter Rabbit's traumas are, perhaps, a little premature for a two and a half year old kid. Ultimately, I feel these stories are more about the triumph of good over evil. The bad fairy never wins.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 11:47 PM

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Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit was one of the first stories written *for* children. the first marketing towards kids, if you will. Grimm's Fairy Tales were told by and written for adults. If I'm not mistaken, Peter doesn't die - he gets put to bed with chamomile tea without supper for being "naughty". To answer your question, a 2.5 year old is benefiting from hearing a story read aloud because s/he is building an understanding of the concepts of print and mechanics of story more than actually understanding the story line. In my experience, Peter Rabbit hasn't been that scary for kids; Peter's mother, although she "punishes" him she still loves him and that is a comforting message. Kids will disobey every now and again; it's good to see you can go home again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 7:40 AM

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peter doesn't die, but his father was killed and "put in a pie" by the farmer's wife, thus intorducing the notion that if peter goes where he doesn't belong, he may be killed and eaten. then when he misbehaves by going into the garden to steal food, he is chased by the farmer with a rake-and he runs for his life, hiding in many areas of the farm, gaining more fear about his fate at every turn. the entire last 2/3 of the story is filled with fright. i remember being read this story and i was scared for the little rabbit. it may have ultimately been an exercise in understanding story mechanics for some, but for me it was a frightening tale.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 9:18 AM

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OK, so, 9:18, what age would you recommend this book for (the OPs question)?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 10:06 AM

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918 here...

i guess it would depend on the child's level of maturity and what the child's experience with the subject has been. i do not have children, i was just sharing my own experience as a child who had the story read to me. it was nerve-wracking for me, but that is not to imply that all children would feel the same way. i think that once a child has learned about the role that consequences play in the actions one takes, this book would be appropriate, but there are other stories that might bring up the topic of death without it being a fear that the main character has. i guess i think death should be taught as being part of the life cycle, not something one should try to run away from or be afraid of. when that lesson has been learned, stories that incorporate death differently could be introduced, in my opinion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 10:19 AM

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my son is 3 we read that book this past april when he was about 2 1/2.... I am a teacher and I read it to my preK class... they are all 4 or 5 come spring when we read it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 10:33 AM

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