America's awful parents: if they're not taping their kids to the wall, then they're overparenting them, starting in kindergarten, so they can "get into Harvard" in 15 years. For example: even pre-literate toddlers are too smart for picture books.

The whole picture book industry is suffering, according to the New York Times, because every parent with enough disposable income to purchase books believes that his or her child must get started on The Iliad early, to gain an advantage over the other applicants for Ivy League pre-schools.

"They're 4 years old, and their parents are getting them ‘Stuart Little,' " said Dara La Porte, the manager of the children's department at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington. "I see children pick up picture books, and then the parents say, ‘You can do better than this, you can do more than this.' It's a terrible pressure parents are feeling - that somehow, I shouldn't let my child have this picture book because she won't get into Harvard."

All your kid wants to do is play video games, anyhow. Just give up.

[NYT. Pic: Matthew Routley. A woman who says she was quoted out of context in the story responds here.]