The kids love these books, but I do not. The illustrations are not really my style. I like a picture book to be lovely or bold...I find these illustrations kind of messy. They make my stomach a little woozy.
In Meanwhile..., Raymond uses a literary trick (writing "Meanwhile..." on his wall) to avoid his mother's call and then to escape from some other sticky situations, until he uses up all his Meanwhiles and has to shout "The End" to land safely back in his bed. I'm not sure the kids grasp the concept very well. Mostly I think First Son is interested in the pirates that feature in one of Raymond's episodes. What I dislike most, though, is how Raymond ignores his mother's yell and then tries to escape rather than respond to her. I just don't need First Son to see this kind of an example. If I call him (though I try not to yell like this particular mother, I often fail, but that's fodder for another post), I do not want him to consider ignoring me.
I Lost My Bear seemed more promising. The little girl has lost her bear and her parents encourage her to find it on her own. Ah, now this I'd like to see my kids doing -- searching for something they want without a parent doing all the searching. The girl, of course, amuses us by making even more of a mess. Then she asks her sister for help. The older sister first yells that the bear is "stupid" (Do I really need that modeled for my kids?) and later even threatens to "kill" the little sister if anything happens to her own stuffed animal. I know. I know. Kids say such things to their siblings all the time. It may even be possible that I said such things in my teen-aged days. That doesn't mean I need the behavior in the books we read together. My kids are pretty sheltered right now. They're still learning how to be mean to each other and are doing just fine picking up those skills on their own or at playgroups. I tried skipping over the words, but First Son was on to me. (I just had to teach him how to read.) The bear does resurface, in case you were worried.
So, while Bark, George was amusing, I think we'll just skip anything else by Jules Feiffer, unless one of you convinces me otherwise.