10 January 2008

Arch Books stink! There, I said it!

Veith hosted a discussion not too long ago in which Arch Books were commended for their faithfulness to Scripture and a consistent Christocentrism. Great. No, really, great. But here's my deep dark secret: I hope we never get another one in a Christmas stocking or Easter basket. Tell all the truth, but tell it slant rhyme? In one metrically botched line after another? For little kids?? This is terrible for an audience in the formative years of literacy.

I'm told that the editors of the series in their quest for doctrinal impeccability are pretty brutal with authors--but these are not complicated metrical schemes we're working with here. I know, because I can usually correct them off the top of my head as I read through them with the babies, and it doesn't even begin to require dogmatic compromises (although some Arch specimens are such poetic train wrecks that correcting them would require a real investment of time, and probably an Enigma machine). It's time to kill some darlings down at CPH. People who make aesthetic arguments for the liturgy shouldn't be compromising when it comes to any creative conveyance of the Word. Aren't we the ones always shouting about the medium being the message? Lex orandi and all that?

We have a cute little book from Tyndale with nary a blunder in rhythm or rhyme. Heavy on the Law and low on Jesus, but at least it's easy on the ears, as ostensibly rhyming poetry for children should be. It figures that those rational Calvinists would be able to pull off a regular meter, but surely there's someone within the Church of the Augsburg Confession who could keep us from looking like a bunch of idiots who can't come up with a word to rhyme with "Mary," or else rearrange the line so as to avoid the problem without employing five extra syllables. In the meantime, we'll just stick to our Child's Garden of Bible Stories for our Scriptural literacy curriculum, or, if we're really desperate, old Heilige Schrift.


Gauntlets said...

Well . . . get on it.

Reb. Mary said...

Yeah, they can be annoyingly awkward.

And speaking of aesthetics, the illustrations in many of them ain't nothing to brag about, either.

Rebekah said...

I almost said something about illustrations, too. I especially hate it when our Lord is depicted as a Kurt Cobain acolyte from our high school days. And then there's the one with the cover illustration suggestive of the title, "Two Hairy Men Shout At a Bird."