Don't get me wrong. My manuscripts are not going to start saying, "Now, children, remember, lying is a really bad idea." My characters will not begin making observations like "You know, I think the real drug-free zone is in our hearts and minds." (The second example is an actual quote, to the best of my recollection, from a book that shall remain nameless.)
It's just that when I was a kid, preaching and predictability in general were kind of a guilty pleasure (and if that means I was an innocent child, well, I could've told you that). I'm certainly not the first to observe that kids find comfort in predictability. It's a major reason series are so popular, after all, and with a quick explanation of who all the characters are, an author can easily bring latecomers up to speed and get them hooked. I wonder, though, if those little explanations aren't just there for new readers. Confession: as a kid, I enjoyed Chapter 2 of every Baby-Sitters' Club novel, the chapter that informed us in slightly different words each time, "Kristy is our leader. Claudia is the artistic one..."
Why? Because when I read that chapter, I got to say to myself, "I know that already." I knew the author was talking to the kids out there who didn't know, and I knew that if called upon, I could've helped the author show the other readers around. That was an empowering feeling.
The same goes for books that teach lessons. There's comfort in knowing what's going to happen and what the book is going to say. Kids spend a lot of time feeling like they know less than other people, and it's nice to have a chance to know that already.
What about the rest of you? Did you feel this way when you were younger?