Four Questionable Children’s Classics

(Alternate Title: This is Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Read Kids’ Books.)

Have you ever sat there, reading a classic kids’ book to your children, and thought… what in the everloving eff is going on here?  I have.  In fact, I do it on a regular basis.  (Don’t even get me started on fairy tales.)  For your convenience, I’ve listed here several books to watch out for, summarized their questionable messages, and thoughtfully re-titled them to more accurately reflect their content.  No need to thank me.  I do it for the kids.  Let’s begin.

Guess How Much I Love You: Okay, I’ll be the one to say it.  Big Nutbrown Hare is the biggest one-upper who ever lived.   His son is all “I love you as high as I can reach” and he’s all “Oh yeah well I love you as high as I can reach, which is way higher since I’m older and taller and smarter and better-looking.”  There is no need to get so competitive, you know?  Your kid’s just trying to tell you he loves you, so maybe don’t be such a jerk about it.

Moral of the story: Anything you can do, your parents can do better.  Sweetheart.

New title: Guess How Much I Can One-Up You.

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The Runaway Bunny: It’s sweet that the mother bunny loves her baby bunny so much that she’d resort to all kinds of impossible shapeshifting and crazy stalking and improbable kidnapping to keep him near her.  Wait… no it isn’t.  It’s the creepiest thing ever.  And I thought I was a helicopter mom.  I mean seriously.  This woman is gonna be all up in her poor future daughter-in-law’s business.  I can smell it from a mile away.

Moral of the story: Mommy loves you sooo much, honey, that if you leave her side, she will hunt you down Taken-style and drag you right back to where you belong, so stay exactly where you are, so help me Jesus.  You can move out when you’re forty.  Five.

New title: When Helicopter Moms Attack.

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Goodnight Moon: Okay, I’ll admit that I love Goodnight Moon.  (Sorry, Margaret Wise Brown.  Didn’t mean to call you out twice here.  Love you, girlfriend.)  Still, books like this are the reason my kid takes 45 minutes to go to bed every night.  It is the original book of bedtime stalling excuses.  Whatever happened to just saying goodnight to each other and going to bed?  Let’s not encourage saying goodnight to the room and the moon and the cow jumping over the moon, (which is not real), the bears and the chairs and the kittens and the mittens and the house and the mouse and the wait there’s a mouse in here?? What the f*ck??  “Goodnight nobody” is right, because none of us are getting any sleep tonight, are we.  Get real, kids.  When I say it’s bedtime, it’s bedtime now.  Where’s the children’s Benadryl?

Moral of the story: It’s perfectly acceptable to take so much time to go to bed that it’s basically the next morning already.

New title: But I Don’t Want To Go To Bed.  Five More Minutes?

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The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real): This story basically traumatized me as a child.  Yes, I am sensitive.  (I cry several tears for each and every mean comment you guys leave me.)  Can we first discuss the “Skin Horse” for a second?  That is some Jeffrey Dahmer sh*t right there.  But mostly, my problem with this story is that it’s just super sad.  The little boy loves this toy and lures him into a false sense of security that he’s gonna be real someday and then gets all sick and sends him off to be burned alive (what?!) and then gets a nice new shiny one and forgets about the old one and goes to the beach, the end.  Not nice, little boy.  Luckily the rabbit does get to become real because he cries, and he runs off to the woods with the other wild rabbits where they all probably live another two to three weeks, tops.

Moral of the story: If you get too sick, Mommy and Daddy will burn all your toys.  Also, you can get anything if you cry about it.  Even if it’s impossible.

New title: How Toys Become Super Depressing.

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Postscript: I sent a draft of this post, as I often do, to a friend so that she could prescreen it for excessive witchiness.

Me: Can you make sure this post isn’t too much?  I think everyone on Parents’ Facebook page thinks I’m a huge wench.  With a potty mouth.

Her: Oh my God!!  You’re like the Ann Coulter of the parenting world!!!

Me: …That’s the meanest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

Her: Oh. I meant it as a compliment.

Sigh.

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  1. by Same Chiz

    On May 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Hold up. ‘Big Nutbrown Hare’ is a character in a CHILDRENS book? Why don’t they just call him ‘Big Brown Nut Hair’? WTF kids books?!

  2. by Harmony

    On May 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I thought the exact same thing the first time I read Guess How Much I Love You!!! Glad to know I’m not the only one who agrees. And I purposely have never bought Good Night Moon because I COMPLETELY agree on the under-lying theme. My kids do enough stalling @ bedtime, they don’t need any more suggestions!!

  3. by Bridget

    On May 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

    The velveteen rabbit scarred me as a kid too. Seriously. Who writes these books?

  4. by Erica

    On May 15, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Omg! I think I love you! I just died laughing while reading this!!!

  5. by Kristen

    On May 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    That was the funniest freakin’ thing I’ve read in AGES!!!!! You are truly gifted-the sheer genius…the sharp wit…the clever delivery. I am so glad that you are a wench with a potty mouth!!! :)

  6. by jennifer

    On May 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Wow. Are you really ok with drugging your kids?

  7. by Sara

    On May 16, 2012 at 12:06 am

    YES! Those first two books drive me NUTS every time my son asks to read them. I really should just get rid of them!

  8. by Tanya

    On May 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I despise guess how much i love you. They gave it to me in my discharge bag from the hospital and i read it once to my son, all the while stumbling over the brown nut hair trying not to laugh. Decided it was annoying and tossed it into the trash. Yeah…so beyond that, i actually don’t own any of the others, but laughed my rear off while reading your post. Remember the stories, but won’t continue the tradition. Pass!

  9. by Harmony Patricia

    On May 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Julia I love reading your blog posts crack me up, as do your Facebook updates. Love it! :)

  10. by Rachel

    On May 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    I bought Guess How Much I Love You for my son just before he was born. I thought, “Oh, this will be a sweet book to get my new baby.” Nope. The first time I read it I couldn’t believe what a one-upper that Hare was! How awful! I have no desire to read it again.

  11. by Get More Information

    On May 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  12. by Carissa

    On May 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    oh my effing God. As always Julia you are too funny! loved this post.

  13. by Cassie

    On May 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I would like to submit “love you forever” for consideration. I mean, I know a lot of people love this book, but I simply can not read it with a straight face. Come on, a mother that crawls into the window of her grown son’s house while he is sleeping and rocks him?? Um, creepy. Thanks for the laughs :)

  14. by Cassie

    On May 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I would like to submit “love you forever” for consideration. I understand that a lot of people love this book, but I simply can not read it with a straight face. I mean really, a mom climbing in her grown son’s bedroom window across town to rock him while he sleeps?? Um, creepy. Thanks for the laughs :)

  15. by Melisa

    On June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Umm, I actually like Goodnight Moon. Its easy to read, and is the perfect 5 minute ending to the bedtime routine (once that book is read, its “nite nite” time). period.
    But you have convinced me not to get the others (Runnaway Bunny was on the wish list). Thanks for the reviews ;-)

  16. by Stella

    On June 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I hated Velveteen Rabbit as a kid too. That story is awful.

  17. by Melissa Eaton

    On July 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    So funny. I love Goodnight Moon (because it’s short and I know it by heart) and Guess How Much I Love You, (I think the one upping in the love department it acceptable). Totally agree with “Love You Forever”, my son isn’t a fan either. Haha! I would like to add, “Where’s Spot?” to the list. The house that Spot lives in is filled with a bear, snake, lion, and a crocodile. My husband said, “Who in the world would think it is ok to live in that house?” I laugh every time I read it.

  18. by Beth

    On July 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Love your take on Guess How Much I Love You. I totally agree, but couldn’t have put it so humorously. Also agree with the previous poser about Love You Forever. So creepy, I hate it!

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