An Amazon.com customer review by "John Galt" of Karl Rove's book Courage and Consequence complains of polarization under Amazon.com's ranking system of one star (worst) through five star (best): "The reviews here are almost all fives (like mine, but I did read it!), or ones. People are just voting their politics." Indeed, of the 49 Amazon customer reviews up this morning, there were 23 five-star reviews and 17 one-star reviews.
You'd expect such polarization in reviews of a book by a political aide. But in reviews of a children's book about a fish with sparkly scales? Check out the Amazon.com reviews for Marcus Pfister's children's book The Rainbow Fish, about a fish with special shiny scales who decides to give them away to the other fish. "His most prized possessions had been given away, yet he was very happy," according to the book's conclusion. Of the 217 Amazon.com reviews of The Rainbow Fish, 79 are five-star, and 79 are one-star. For a flavor of the one-star reviews, one is titled, "Great for the young communist and socialist."
It's one thing to be concerned about political polarization or a values divide in America on talk radio or on cable television or political blogs. But when it filters down to the childrens' book reviews on Amazon.com, it's really something remarkable. It's also remarkable when the childrens' books are as ideological as the political operatives' memoirs.