I know the phrase “gag me with a spoon” is retro in a big hair androgynous kinda way. But that’s the vibe I get from the-trades.com’s review of With My Rifle by My Side: A Second Amendment Lesson. R.J. Carter never actually says this children’s book is so white-bread it makes Twinkies seem like an exotic ethnic food (which, in a way, they are). But his displeasure is as clear as a Minuteman’s rifle cracking in the cold morning air. Or something like that. To wit . . .

Coming into this as a longtime political conservative, I found myself cringing at some of the simplistic presentations and the quick insertion of faith as a means to support the right to bear arms. I’d hoped for more of a logical presentation of why it’s a right, as well as some of the more basic safety tips (other than what amounted to little more than “Listen to your Dad and respect what he tells you”), which I suppose was more than could be accommodated in a rhyme scheme that was quite often forced, with stanzas that sometimes had more words than fit the measure unless you read the lines really, really fast.

Can you say counter-productive? Mr. Carter can. And at $17.39 a pop, why wouldn’t he?

The text is set against a number of portraits from Donna Goeddaeus, using a serviceable format that appears from the texture to be a crayon approach to Thomas Kinkade. Unfortunately, the book overall is, at best, preaching to the choir. It’s otherwise not a book that will provide any training or guidance, and is likely the very kind of thing that will be held up as a token of ridicule by gun control proponents who already see conservatives as religio-centric Palinistas.

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