Not to let dd read the longest whale song by Jacqueline Wilson?

(40 Posts)
CocktailQueen Sun 03-Feb-13 10:19:22

Ddd is 9 and a vg reader. She loves JW books and has been lent this one. I have had a look through and am not happy with her reading it. It's about a woman who has eclampsia when she has her baby and it in a coma for ages. I know dd will get upset a it. Also, I am not sure the subject matter is appropriate for her. Wwyd? Aibu?

HollyBerryBush Sun 03-Feb-13 10:23:16

Have you read it to see what it contains?


This is a tender and gentle story that will captivate readers of 8+ from bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson. Ella's mum's in a deep coma having just had a new baby. That means Ella has to live with Jack, her hopeless stepfather and cope with her tiny newborn brother, as well as worrying about Mum. The only thing that's going right is her school project. It's all about whales and how they sing out to each other to attract a mate - sometimes for hours. Maybe a whale song could reach Mum, wherever she is, and bring her back to Ella and baby Samson. Surely it's worth a try?

Fairylea Sun 03-Feb-13 10:28:07

My dd aged 9 has just finished reading it. She is very grown up and enjoys call the midwife (!) And we talk about everything so I knew she would be fine with it.

She really enjoyed it and has been talking about it since.

I suppose only you know your own dd though. But I think at 9 it does them no harm to have a bit of realism etc.

chicaguapa Sun 03-Feb-13 10:28:52

DD got this book as a present and we hid it. She gets very upset about death and worried about me and DP dying and we thought this book was a bit more than she could cope with. YANBU.

Madmum24 Sun 03-Feb-13 10:32:34

I also have a 9 yo DD who has discovered JW books. I personally don't like them, there is way too much adultery/divorce/nasty stepparenting/trauma than what I believe is healthy for that age group.

Sneezingwakesthebaby Sun 03-Feb-13 10:35:43

YANBU. If you know she will get upset, leave it til she's a bit older or more ready for that type of story. A few JW books have upset me and I'm in my twenties! I loved her as a kid and still get some of her newer ones but I do think now she has run out of ideas and being known for putting serious topics in her books, she just slams whatever in them now. My Sister Jodie was a good example of this. And Love Lessons. Both a bit too random.

DumSpiroSpero Sun 03-Feb-13 12:35:45

You know your DD best so YANBU.

My DD is 8 and we read the Hetty Feather trilogy before Chrismas, which reduced me to tears on several occasions.

That said, they are great books and the ones with a historical setting are a good way of easing them into about trickier subjects as the fact they are set in a different time period makes them seem less threateningly real iyswim?

RedStone Sun 03-Feb-13 13:28:11

Both my dd have read this. (10 and 14). It will help deal with reality of life which we all know know is not a bed of roses!

OkayHazel Sun 03-Feb-13 16:06:11

I think books like this a really good for children who have friends at school with less than ideal family situations. Teaches understanding, compassion and gratefulness for what they have.

IMO syrupy stories about princesses and happy ending are far more damaging than a bit of reality. Of course, you know your child best but discuss it with her, let her find her level with it.

SminkoPinko Sun 03-Feb-13 16:28:14

I think you should let her read it. She likes Jacqueline Wilson and difficult themes are a JW speciality. It's a pretty safe way to consider a sad situation. I've heard quite a lot of parents worry about their children reading JW but never actually met/heard of a child traumatised by reading her work.

OkayHazel Sun 03-Feb-13 16:28:49

I agree. MrsTerryPratchett. Disney has given me terribly damaging expectations of relationships.

calandarbear Sun 03-Feb-13 16:41:32


I beg to differ, my brother's class were read the suitcase kid at infant school. My brother cried for weeks and wouldn't let my dad out of his sight. My mum was less than impressed, up until that point my brother was unaware that parents separated, not a bad thing for a 6 year old and not that unusual in our area nearly twenty years ago.

SminkoPinko Sun 03-Feb-13 17:03:28

Sorry to hear that, calandarbear. I think 6 is a little bit younger than The Suitcase Kid is aimed at and so maybe not the best choice for a whole class read. But on the other hand it is really important for children of all ages to realise that not everyone lives with 2 parents and that divorce happens. And 6 is pretty old to be completely unaware of this, ime. So in a way I think JW did your brother a favour! I just checked with my 3 year old (who can't read so no JW dilemmas in this house) and she told me that some people live with just their mummy and some with both parents and some people even have 2 mummies. I was definitely aware that parents could split up way before 6 as many of my friends' parents had done so. Perhaps if you know such things the book would be less traumatic?

calandarbear Sun 03-Feb-13 17:11:07

Oh I agree with you, both my 6 and 3 year old understand the concept I think it was just back then we didn't know anyone who had separated so it had never come up. Although even without JW he'd have known soon after as our neighbours divorced.

thebody Sun 03-Feb-13 17:15:39

Depends on the child. Op knows hers best.

My dds hated JW books and much prefer escapism and magic.

Harry potter, chalet school stories etc in their day, older now.

My dd has faced enough cruel reality so doesn't want to wallow in mystery thank you very much.

Probably why I prefer the escapism of Jeeves and Wooster and bloody hate crap 'gritty' soaps!

thebody Sun 03-Feb-13 17:16:06

Misery not mystery.

Dd was nine when she read this and whilst she wanted to talk about the book (and brought the story up again a while later when she learnt the mum of a boy in her class was in a coma) she did not get upset about it. It gave her food for thought (as most JW books do) but did not make her cry (unlike many of the Michael Murpogo books)

If she wants to read it, let her and be there to talk to her about it. If you feel she is getting too upset then take the book away (as I did with Born to Run by MM after I found dd sobbing in her bedroom)

Bogeyface Sun 03-Feb-13 17:33:24


You dont know that it will upset her, and JW deals with difficult subjects in a way that kids can understand.

Yfronts Sun 03-Feb-13 19:14:33

I'm very careful with which books my 10 yr DD reads. Hetty feather - yes, some other topics - no. I've skimmed them and I can't see whey my child needs to know about some of the issues aged 10.

SolidSnake Sun 03-Feb-13 19:19:02

Yfronts I'm surprised that there are issues in JW books that a child of 10 wouldn't know about

jamdonut Sun 03-Feb-13 19:32:38

We read a Michael Morpurgo book at school to a class of 8/9 year olds about a boy in a coma (Can't remember what it was called ...the title was the boy's dog's name). That was very sad, and talked about the possibility of death, but the children really enjoyed it.

I'm not keen on Jacqueline Wilson books, though. I think they are a bit...I don't know....melodramatic.

OkayHazel Sun 03-Feb-13 19:44:21

I agree with SolidSnake. This much preciousness about the realities of life really worries me.

CocktailQueen Sun 03-Feb-13 20:51:13

Really, hazel? When you were 9, which books did you read that dealt with a woman beng in a coma due to eclampsia? Hmm?

CocktailQueen Sun 03-Feb-13 20:53:51

Thanks all. A real mix of answers here - which is why I like mn! I think on balance I will leave this book for a while. I read the synopsis and flicked through it. I like jw's style of writing but I wish that she would write about some of the nicer things in life too. She's like bloody Jodie picoult. No book without a moral dilemma. Not all families are single parent, not all mums are tattooed, not all mums are depressed etc. cheers all.

MerlotAndMe Sun 03-Feb-13 20:58:31

My dd has read them all. judy curtin books are more mum, dad, dog and 2.4 kids if thats wat u r after!

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 03-Feb-13 21:04:46

CocktailQueen - many of the classics for starters! grin Secret Garden and A Little Princess both feature deaths of parents - as does HP for that matter hmm And ALL Michael Morpurgo's books make me teary and sniffly, in particular War Horse - I can deal with dying men, just about, but not dying horses wink

Absolutely you know your DD best but - and I'll be a bit controversial here - I think books give us that sense of not being alone, as well as how to cope "if". Far better that a child knows the world isn't always a kind place but has strategies in place to cope, than for their world to be a fairy tale place that goes suddenly, horribly wrong.

MrsSham Sun 03-Feb-13 21:18:04

You know your dd and if you think it will upset her then give her the choice, and if its upsetting see if she wants to stop reading. I often avoid over emotional things through choice as do many adults, no reason why a child shouldn't have that choice either, I'm don't agree with any of the ideas that it does children good to learn some of the harder lessons or circumstances in life. Some people can handle it some can't and that goes for kids as much as adults. I think their should the choice.

my dd 6 began reading suitcase kid, it surprisingly upset her, she generally doesn't upset easily and doesn't have much empathy so I was surprised however she has loved a series of unfortunate events, which I find a little on the darker side for age but she has loved it. Maybe because it is so far removed from real life.

CocktailQueen Sun 03-Feb-13 23:08:01

You know, Porridge, A Secret Garden and The Little Princess were two of my favourite books as a child (but Secret Garden was different because we don't ever meet the mother, do we? so she is removed from the reader), and I have never forgotten them. They really affected me. I know how dd has been affected by some of the books she has read - MM esp - which is why I asked for advice.

Dancergirl Sun 03-Feb-13 23:23:40

Good luck with not 'letting' her read it. Does she not read/borrow books from her school library/classroom/borrowed from friends? What are you going to do, follow her around and vet each book she reads? Mine are all keen readers and get through books at an astonishing rate. Anyway it's good to read a wide variety.

OkayHazel Mon 04-Feb-13 00:50:51

CocktailQueen Jacqueline Wilson books. I was 9 a mere 12 years ago.

CocktailQueen Mon 04-Feb-13 11:45:27

Dancergirl - yes, she does, but I see them and she shows me which she lends to her friends/borrows from them. No, of course am not going to follow her around; that would be silly. Am just asking for advice on this one book.

Okayhazel - The Longest Whale Song was only published in 2010 so reading it when you were 9 was clever hmm.

MumVsKids Mon 04-Feb-13 11:47:24

I bought my 8yo the box set last week of JW books, she's over half way through already, I've no problem with her reading any of them tbh smile

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 04-Feb-13 11:55:47

We all hope our children won't encounter these issues in real life. However, most of them do at some point. I feel that reading these kind of books and discussing the the issues with your child help to prepare them for when they are presented with the real situations.
This time last year my DD's life was untouched by any such situations. In the last year her Daddy moved out to live with the alcoholic other woman he had been having an affair with whose DD bullies mine and oh yes I got breast cancer. My beautiful girl has had to deal with all of these situations at least having read JW she knew it was normal to feel angry, sad and confused.

Theas18 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:25:57

To the op has a book ever given your child nightmares? anxieties beyond those that have opened up an interesting discussion and addressed/put to be fears?

I very strongly feel kids self censor- mine wouldn't carry on reading if they felt a book wasn't OK for them.

yes we've had issues raised etc but you need to talk about spilt families, poorly mums etc because it happens (not in your lovely household I'm sure) but to your kids mates. Ms mum (in DD2s class) who played the piano when they were in infants died of liver cancer when they were in year ?5. THat isn't that uncommon I'm afraid.

If you look at classic books there is always trauma. Almost all child heros seem to be orphans - if the hero hasn't had a terrible childhood they aren't a good hero! THe secret garden- blimey doesn't come much more grim. Poor girl- parents die and she's brought to a foreign country where she cannot understand what is going on as it's so different, and she meets a boy who's taken to bed after his mother died falling off a swing in the garden . Doesn't come more horrific really and ..... yet it isn't, it's a fab book about overcoming adversity, getting on with people and being happy in your own skin/thankful for what you do have not what you don't.

films I did censor, but books never- a 9yr old reads a 1st world war book with soldiers with a little bullet hole in their head being dead. Yes, not nice but a very sanitised version of the way I read War horse etc- drowning literally in mud and blood, body parts missing and mortally wounded screaming in pain amongst the noise of bombs and terrified comrades. It's a different experience as an adult.

Whyamihere Mon 04-Feb-13 12:50:04

OP, I stopped reading a JW book to my dd recently because of the content, the book we were reading was talking about one night stands and other things I didn't think was appropriate for dd to know about (it was the one where the girl is left home alone with her brothers and sisters), dd is only 8, I just didn't think she needed to know about one night stands at her age.
Dd is dyslexic though so I still read to her every day and therefore I have an input into what she reads, I guess as her reading gets better and she reads more herself I will lose some of that control.
When I was young I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. At fourteen I was reading a mixture of Chalet School books, Agatha Christie and Mills and Boons (the last two because they were in the house), a bizarre combination.

OkayHazel Mon 04-Feb-13 17:06:24

CocktailQueen I didn't say I'd read the Last Whale Song at 9. I said I'd read Jacqueline Wilson.

OkayHazel Mon 04-Feb-13 17:07:18

*Longest, not Last.

GrowSomeCress Mon 04-Feb-13 17:59:08

YANBU. I have adored reading from a young age but always found that the JW, while realistic for some, contained way too much trauma - I preferred to read books like The Faraway Tree which were really lovely stories and a bit of escapism and fantasy

lljkk Mon 04-Feb-13 18:14:09

All JW books make me cry (pathetic or what, I know).

On balance, I liked DD reading JW books because it became a way for her to discuss big fears (like losing me). And we could talk about how there were many ways she would be able to cope, that people learn to cope with difficult situations.

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