So you're interested in deep topics for kids. Look no further. Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That is what you've been looking for. Like usual, the cover of this book caught my attention first. It's bright and playful and the rat was so adorable. But then I realized that my husband and daughter, and I'm I'm being brutally honest, myself were all probably considered pack rats too. So then I just had to give it a read and guys. This might be one of my most favorite kids books I've ever reviewed.
Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That written by Marcuss Ewert and illustrated by Kayla Stark
Mr. Pack Rat has built a home, but he soon becomes bored of it and tries to find the items that bring him the happiness he's looking for. If this doesn't strike you between the eyes with a bit of "Huh, that sounds like a very obvious, very prevalent world problem," then this deals with one of the biggest problems in our society today. Consumerism.
Mr. Pack Rat finds multiple things that he find beautiful and that make him happy, but when he brings them home with the help of his magical magnet, he still feels unhappy.
About halfway, Mr. Pack Rat makes a wish so big it almost squishes him, he reaches his peak frustration and cries himself to sleep. This was big to me. Frustration and delayed gratitude are a hard subject for parents to introduce to kids and for me, this seemed like a way for kids to grasp the idea of a mistake and often the consequence of the mistake, which is usually feeling pretty crummy and not yet able to sort it out.
When Mr. Pack Rat wakes up the next morning, he almost falls into the same pattern, but shows self-restraint and it leads to his great epiphany: He's been happy all along.
We've seen it here and there. Stuff doesn't make you happy, blahblahblah. But how well are we really reenforcing that notion? Type 'Unhappiness and Consumerism' into Google and you get just over 91,000 results. If you look through the good ones, like this article from the APA, it allcomes back to one thing...
"...when people organize their lives around extrinsic goals such as product acquisition, they report greater unhappiness in relationships, poorer moods and more psychological problems."
Now, I'm not all "BURN THE MONEY AND ALL THE THINGS!!" Because as noted in the APA article, it's not HAVING money that makes people unhappy. It's the STRIVING for it. Basically, the constant drive for more, more, more and better, better, better.
As someone who grew up in a large family with little to no disposable income and parents who taught us and positively reenforced the "money and things aren't what truly matter in life" value, I'm striving to teach my daughter and soon my second daughter the same things, but to be honest, it's a struggle in today's ever producing society.