Saturday, February 04, 2012

Messed Up Children's Books

I spent my morning sorting through books from my childhood, & found some pretty messed up stuff.  The books my brother & I grew up with were taking up 4 shelves of my son's bookcases.  Now that my brother will be a father in 2 months, it's time to sort out the ones with chicken scratch writing in the "This Book Belongs To" section, from the elegant cursive writing on others.  Again, I found some messed up stuff.

Not terrifying at all.

My brother & I were always taught to respect books, as was my son.  These well-read, 30 year old children's books are almost all in perfect condition, aside from the cursive writing practice on a few inside covers.

Noted: 7 year old me loved John, did not like Albert.

Our library includes The Berenstain Bears & Robert Munsch & Dr. Seuss, but the real treasures are the odd ones.  When I was a child, living in the States, I belonged to The Weekly Reader Children's Book Club.  Random books were delivered to our house, I believe on a bi-weekly basis, so the name was a tad misleading.  They never delivered classics, like The Velveteen Rabbit or Corduroy.  The books that came in the mail were always obscure, usually in that so-70s colour scheme of white, black, & splashes of orange here & there.  These were the books that no one else wanted, much like The Last Puppy.

When you see it, you will recoil in horror.

Some had images that have stayed with me, buried in my mind, waiting to be unleashed once more.  When I read the Disney book, Real-Life Monsters, to my son years ago, this picture stayed in my mind for days.  It had haunted me as a child (the way the blood is dripping, & the T-Rex is LOOKING AT ME, & the guy I should feel sorry for LOOKS EVIL TOO), & now it was doing it again. 

You're next, Lisa.

Often, the Weekly Reader books were poetry books, & they were not by Shel Silverstein.  While I approve of the message Skipper is trying to convey, I feel this may be too morbid for a children's book.

Protect him from you, more likely.

In An Itch, we see the beginnings of a beautiful serial killer, discovering for the first time that he likes inflicting pain. 

You are mine.

Maybe it's just me, but I always felt "wrote his name on my back with his fingernails" meant a name was carved into his skin, like a branding.  Creeps me out. Yes, the poetry books may have been the worst.

I don't want to know how a cow gives milk with all her might.

Baby animals are sometimes too weak to survive.

There's a ghost in the backyard.  Have fun!

Little Golden Books were always present in our library.  And this one is a Beatrix Potter story!  That should be delightful & completely safe. 

There's no way this could make my 2 year old son burst into tears the first time I read it to him, right?

If the bunnies are old enough to know, so are you.

Here's another Golden Boo...wait a minute.  A Happy Day Book?  It's a fake!

It looks like a Golden Book, but it's meant to teach Christian values.  
Values like always sing for ghosts.

It's creepier if we're just yellowing in old age.

This particular book also contains what may be the best rhyme ever.

This book is still available for purchase here, so you're welcome. 

Another piece of religious propaganda that I had as a child (thanks Mom & Dad!) was a booklet of comic strips that all ended in a moral or a saying, like "Do unto others..." or "obey your parents", or this classic. 
From Leviticus, I believe.

"Either tell the truth or keep your mouth shut!"

My brother & I had a book called The ABCs of Faith, which explained sacraments like baptism, confirmation, & that God is totes cool with polygamy as long as he gets an invite!

Leave room for the Holy Ghost...between the sheets, ifyouknowwhatimsayin.

Also tackled is the heavy topic of a child losing a loved one.  Does it do a good job of this?  NO.

Grandma's dead?  God is great!  Yay!

This book also shows us that Church is the REAL THING*.  
Jesus is waiting there for us FOR REAL*. 

*Please don't question anything you've just read.  It's the REAL THING.

The one book that amazes me for its awful-message-masquerading-as-biblical-lesson is:

This is curiously not available at Arch Books anymore, even though the other 14 bible stories they published are.  Let's find out the possible reasons why!

Just marry one of your cousins, already.

Jacob meets & falls in love with his cousin, Rachel.

My sister did want you wed right away,!
Jacob works hard, & it's getting closer to the day he can marry Rachel.

Jacob & Rachel's wedding day is here.  Jacob looks dashing in the same tunic he's worn through the whole book, & his bride looks lovely.  I guess.  She has a veil over her face THE ENTIRE TIME.

TWIST!  I married the wrong cousin!

Yeah, she's from last season's Survivor, but I will use her forever.

I switched daughters on you, nephew!  Ha!

Dad of the year.

So to recap, Jacob was sent by his parents to marry one of his cousins.  He falls in love with Rachel, & is so poor at negotiating that instead of just marrying her, he strikes a deal that indentures him for 7 years & only then can he marry her.  Uncle says sure, nephew, you can marry one of my daughters. But Jacob makes him lots of money over those 7 years, so he wants Jacob to keep making him money, so he tricks Jacob by making him marry his other daughter, Leah.  Haha, Jacob!  The joke's on you!  I'll tell you what - be my slave 7 more years, & then you can have the wife you really want, my second daughter, AS WELL as my first daughter.  How's that sound, nephew/slave/son-in-law?

Looking through this again, I was kind of scared to turn the page.  Surely there would be a graphic depiction of Jacob going biblical on his Uncle's ass.  Jacob's not going to stand for this bullshit!
I turn the page, &...

What a crazy random happenstance!

Again, this book is not available for purchase anymore, & this one is mine.  Suckers.

In conclusion, good luck raising your daughter with these books*, Matthew!

*excluding The Farmer Takes A Wife. That craziness is mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These are some creepy stories that would permantly burn their way into any childs memory. But that Beatrix Potter Poem "To Any Reader" about your children growing up and leaving you has burned its way into this parents memory.