I love reading. I REALLY love reading. I’m a little unbalanced about it, actually. My almost-five-year-old (The Bear) also loves books and stories, so I read a lot of children’s books these days. Before I had kids, I assumed that books and movies that were made for small children are mostly APPROPRIATE FOR SMALL CHILDREN. Boy, was I wrong.
I’ll save “inappropriate kids’ movies” for another day, and maybe another author. I haven’t really seen enough kids’ movies to know which ones are the worst. Does EVERY Disney movie involve parents dying? Feel free to enlighten me.
On a recent trip, I bought a book to read to my daughter. I had to edit it as I read, and unfortunately, she loved the book, so I had to edit it every time. The book is number 3 in Fish nor Fowl’s first Countdown of Terrible Children’s Books. Here goes! I’ve included some photos. If you can’t read the text in the photo, click on it to enlarge. The last one in the post is particularly worth a look.
4. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. – I know, I know. It’s a classic. Everyone loves this book. It made me uncomfortable and itchy when I was a child, and it just gets more disturbing as I get older. Talk about depressing. Kid loves tree, tree loves kid, kid uses bits of tree until it is a decrepit, lonely stump and never shows affection or gratitude to the tree…
3. Plants Bite Back!, Richard Platt. – This is supposed to be a “Level 3″ reader, which they define as “reading alone.” Possibly because they don’t want parents of younger children to be horrified. The book is about plants with interesting defensive and offensive mechanisms, like poison ivy, stinging nettles, and carnivorous plants. This is the book that I mentioned that I have to edit every time I read it to The Bear. I’m not sure what age exactly they are shooting for, but it seems a bit early to describe historical methods of torture and execution using plants. Seriously.
2. Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister (board book edition). – Yes, it’s beautifully illustrated, but here is how the story goes: A lonely fish is the most beautiful fish in the ocean because of his shiny scales. Other fish won’t be his friend. Finally, he agrees to give away his shiny scales, one or two to each of the other fish, until the fish are all the same. After he gives away PARTS OF HIS BODY to all the other fish, they like him and he has “friends.” This makes me want to bang my head on the wall. I’m not sure if the lesson is that everyone has to be the same and if you’re different no one will like you, or that you have to buy your friends, or that if you’re exceptional in some way you have to make yourself average or you’ll be lonely forever. Aargh.
1. THE VERY WORST CHILDREN’S BOOK… *Drum roll*… Max and Moritz: A Morality Tale, Wilhelm Busch. - Max and Moritz are two delinquents who play nasty pranks on everyone in town. The book goes through a series of seven pranks. The very first prank they play is tying bread hunks together with string, and then allowing a neighbor’s chickens to eat the bread. The chickens are then joined by the string, and they get caught in a tree and die:
The boys continue in this vein for seven pranks. The end of the seventh prank defies description:
Did you catch that? They get EATEN BY DUCKS!!! Yes, that is the end of this children’s book. I rest my case.