Sometimes I wish I were one of those white-trash dads that didn't read to his kids. Like when my kids pick crap books they want me to read to them. This book, while not as bad as "Bubble and Squeak," is still bad enough that it counts as a counterargument to the First Amendment. "Sure, freedom of the press is great in theory, but then it gives us crap like 'The Littles to the Rescue.'"
One of the biggest problems I have with this book comes from the fact that we're also reading "The Borrowers" right now, which highlights just how much of a Borrowers rip-off the Littles are. I am reminded of the crap direct-to-video movies that exist solely because there is money to be made from unsuspecting movie renters who think that, since they were sent to the video store with instructions to rent "Treasure Island" and the movie they hold in their hands is named "Treasure Island," it must be the right one. If "The Borrowers" is the original big-budget version starring Will Smith, "The Littles to the Rescue" is the knock-off version starring Rutger Hauer.
All this, of course, is lost on my kids. They don't care if "The Borrowers" is the steak to John Peterson's Spam. In fact, I think my kids liked the Spam best because the dialog wasn't 19th-century English working class dialect, so they understood it more easily. And if my kids think the Littles are great, all I have to do is help my daughter become a better reader and farm these books out to her. She already reads Megan McDonald's "Stink" books to my son, not because I don't like them, but because they like them too much to wait for me to work them into the rotation.
The bigger problem with the Littles, as I see it, is the amoral narration. Characters are constantly saying questionable things and there is no indication in the story that their views are wrong. Uncle Pete tells the women to stay inside while the men solve the problem. Stubby Speck drums up fear of the Ground Tinies because they are different. Whit Snippet tells his wife to be quiet and let him make the decisions. And at the end of the book (SPOILER ALERT, I guess), the Littles, fearing the Snippets will kill their relative, decide to blow up the Snippets' living room, only later finding out no one was inside, and never thinking it might not have been a good idea.
Rating: 1 out of 7 giant inflatable monkeys.