Friday, 5 February 2010

Because modern life isn't terrifying enough...

...Someone (actually, a whole bunch of people) thought it would be a good idea to write children's books that will scar kids forever.

Why am I on about this? Glad you asked. Because, dear readers, this morning the Green Tip newsletter I subscribe to arrived in my inbox with this in the header: Stinkytown turns into Greentown.

Now, with a charming subject line like that, I just had to investigate further. And this is what followed:

Buy "green message" books for children. Forget about the 'Big Bad Wolf" - children's futures nowadays are far more threatened by greenhouse gases than they ever were by wolves. In a new book, Giggles is a happy little bean, planted in good soil, but he sprouts into a world in which the air stinks and the trees are gasping. In "Giggles the Green Bean Turns Stinkytown Into Greentown"... Giggles, guided by his bean grandmother and by a Wise Old Cabbage, learns environmentally friendly lessons and spreads the word to others. In the process Stinkytown is turned into Greentown."

Now forgive me if I would never consider buying this book for my hypothetical children. But seriously... if I'm ever going to be doing the bedtime reading, this book will not be my subject matter of choice.

It did, however, get me thinking about the rubbish kids' books out there. So I did a quick search online and oh my goodness gracious... the results were even more appalling than I could have imagined.

Take Who Cares About Disabled People? available on Amazon. Part of the Who Cares series, this book aims to teach children to care for disabled people, including fat kids and glue sniffers.

Another winner is The Little Boy Who Loved Dirt and Almost Became a Super Slob, by the same author who wrote Nobody Wants a Nuclear War. This woman has a gift for terrifying children.

She's almost as good as the lunatic who wrote Alfie's Home. The reviews tell it all. Basically, the book follows the tale of a little boy who is sexually abused by his uncle and teased about being gay before he is miraculously "cured" by a counsellor who tackles his father issues and makes him confront the naughty uncle (who also miraculously escapes prison or any consequences at all).

The pictures are disturbing, the text worse and the most awful thing for me is that you will end up trying to explain to your kid what the word faggot means as it features prominently. Lovely stuff this.

For more books to avoid like the plague, check out this link.

On a happy note, if this post caused you a bad boo-boo, you can fix it with a bacon band-aid. Gotta love Amazon.

Have a good weekend.


Bagman and Butler said...

Darn. And I was just thinking of retiring early by writing the best-seller: "Snow White and Goldilocks Learn How to Avoid Strangers."

Shayne said...

Yeah you wonder what these authors think sometimes.

Is reality not bad enough that we need to read to them about it too?

momcat said...

I suppose the problem is that worse things to happen in real life and sometimes a book might help to bring a hidden problem out into the open by highlighting the fact that other kids are also going through the same things.

Helen said...

Oh my word! There are some crazy people out there!

Remind me to write my own books if I ever get around to having kids... Reminds me of the videos we had to watch in 'Guidance' class... I'm still scarred by the one of the girl being molested by her piano-teacher...

Steve Hayes said...

When I was about 9 some cousins came to stay with us and they had a couple of books called Uncle Arthur's beadtime stories, and they were the scariest stories I ever read. They gave me the horrors. One was about at kid who threw a stone at a girl called Doris, and it hit her in the voice box and after that she couldn't speak. And the others were equally horrible.

The moral of the story, of course, was that one shouldn't throw stones.

And that's the thing that all these stories have in common -- they are all moralistic as hell.

And the moral of the story? Don't ever buy your kids moralistic story books!

po said...

Hmm, I think the best kids stories still involve scary bad guys, princes and wolves. No morals thanks.

I love dirt. I am a slob. What is she saying???

Damaria Senne said...

ROFL, thanks Tamara. Now I'm going to follow the link so I can do research on the kind of stories I should never write.

As a side-note, I have written children's stories, and some years ago published a couple of children's books with Macmillan and Heinmann. One was titled The Doll That Grew, and nope, it's no longer available in stores. (Thank God! And in my defence, I was very young and twee was in:-)

Anonymous said...

Loved this post. Good read and great links. I don't know hey I kinda like the humour (if you don't read them to you children) in writing books like that- a reflection of sciety et al.

I mean- I wouldn't read it to my children. But I'd read it to see what it says about our society and things that we teach our children because all of those books you mentioned- say something about it. Like in one of your links there's a story about a mom who rocks her son to sleep every night which reminds me of this momma's boy of a boyfriend I once had who would be on the phone to his mom all the time. And he was sometimes entirely too childish.... it was weird.

Know what I mean?

Louisa said...

Mmmm, I think I'm going to be giving these a pass too. What happened to letting kids be kids for a bit?

Marc said...

BWAHAHAHAH that's a funny post.

Occasionally you will get the Harry Potters of the world which re-shape the kids genre but its hard to beat the classics for good old fashioned kids reads..

tattytiara said...

Woah, and people think the old fairy tales are hard core.

angel said...

Well then I s’pose we can be happy Amazon doesn’t deliver here…!!
There are some truly strange books out there.