4 Children's Books That Will Unintentionally Scar Your Kids
When my son reads a book, my hope is that it will teach him good morals and useful knowledge so I don't have to. If 25 colorful pages of wacky talking animals help keep him on the straight and narrow, then that leaves me more time for what the Good Lord gave me breath to do: crafting bawdy one-liners that reduce everything our species has accomplished down to one loud, unending fart.
Not every tome in the most diaper-ific part of the library meets my sky-high standards, though. Some teach shitty lessons, while some teach nothing at all. But the worst books are those that successfully spin the Wheel of Morality but then deliver their messages in the stupidest, most counterproductive manner possible. Actual parenting will be required to undo the damage caused when kids learn ...
The Solution to Being Bullied Is Revenge, Rather Than Seeking Adult Help
Bullying sucks. We can all agree on that, right? Unless you're a cowardly little chickenshit who doesn't wanna. Gonna cry, ya bully lover, huh? Gonna cry into your stolen lunch? Soup taste better seasoned with tears? Cowardly fuck.
Speaking of lunch, that's what Big Mike, the bully of Loudmouth George and the Sixth-Grade Bully, swipes on the daily from Loudmouth George, an everyhare who probably got that dumb nickname from another book in the series, but damned if I care enough to find out which one. At first, Mike wants money, but after some negotiation, he settles on starving George instead.
"But keep the Lunchables. Because fuck those things."
After several muggings, the poor bunny turns into a total wreck. His grades slip, his weight drops, and every tiny little sound frightens him.
Oh, quit whining; you still passed.
Obviously, since this is a children's book, George wins, the bully doesn't, and bullying looks as bad as it deserves to be. The problem is HOW this happens. George doesn't tell his parents. He doesn't tell his teacher. When his friend Harriet suggests they tell the principal, he refuses, citing the lamest of excuses:
So ... school officials can communicate only if they literally work together? That's some system you got there. Keep it up, and those hairless apes hooting in the distance will conquer and enslave you all within a year.
In lieu of working with authority, George and Harriet run with Plan B: give the bully a crappy lunch. Because revenge is a dish best served disgusting. First they mix tuna and tons of garlic:
Then they prepare some delicious vinegar soup:
And for dessert -- lard Oreos:
Sadly, there are worse ways to fill an Oreo.
This is seriously how a children's book -- published in 2003, no less -- suggests children deal with those doing them harm. The story cuts away with Big Mike stealing the terrible lunch and George smirking like ain't he a stinker:
Spoiler: You ain't.
The book doesn't show what comes next, and for good reason -- Mike eats the food and probably gets violently pissed off. Up until now, George hasn't been physically assaulted -- all Mike does is rob and threaten him. But after this stunt, he's going to lose his teeth quicker than if Gallagher were his dentist. Even his bodyguard can't hang around forever, after all.
"Bullying's un-American! Except when it's not."
That's Harriet's weightlifting cousin, Lance, following George to school every day in case Mike attacks. A grown-ass man ready to lay the smackdown on a pre-teen -- because bullying is bad.
Don't Whine or a Horrible Monster Will Eat You
Invoking the threat of unholy monsters to scare your children into obeying is a classic(ally terrible) Easter egg of parenting. So, naturally, there's a children's book out there that not only condones it but makes it clear to any tot reading that the threat is very, very real.
Monsters Eat Whiny Children tells the tale of Henry and Eve, two little shits who loudly bitch about everything from the food they eat to the phone they somehow haven't had shoved up their pee parts. Their annoyed father warns them to behave or monsters will eat them.
Which, judging by those eyes and mouths, would be cannibalism.
The kids outright ignore dad and continue to whine day and night. Their punishment: a hungry fucking monster.
That's not dad in a cheap costume looking to scare his screaming snots straight (we know this because there's no follow-up called Whiny Children Snitch to DSS). No, that's an actual monster. Henry and Eve are truly kidnapped, stuffed into a bag, and prepared for consumption. Hey, kiddo reading this: be nice, or DIE.
Also, holy shit does this book come close to actually killing the kids. The monsters toss them into a salad:
Make them the meat in the world's biggest burger:
And even mix them into a fucking cake:
Frosting before baking? Shit, and I was starting to like you monsters, too.
Each time, Henry and Eve come within inches of being devoured, and it would be their fault because they whined too much. They survive only because the monsters are whiny too, constantly bickering over how best to eat children. One girl monster rejects the cake because it would make her butt look big.
Bonus moral: women be dieting.
All this whining results in exactly one thing: no whiny child food. See, kids? Whining is bad no matter what side of the murder table you're on. Henry and Eve finally quit whining over their predicament long enough to sneak out a window:
Via toys formerly owned by whiny children who are now poop.
And back home, where they vow to never, ever whine again. Everyone lives quietly ever after, with the tots learning life is better and happier when you're not complaining about everything. I'm sure your children will agree, once they finally stop waking up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat because they had that dream again about the flesh-eating goblin who will violently end them the second they utter even the slightest harrumph.
Stand While You Pee ... on Anything and Anyone
Sitting on the can is mighty comfortable (and is the ideal position for browsing porn on your phone), but that's not always an option. And so we get Standing Up, a pee primer designed to get boys excited about pissing upright. So it's useful for half the population, at least (unless the other half has amazing aim).
A boy experiences an epiphany upon viewing the Manneken Pis (that statue of a peeing boy every drunken frat bro "studying" abroad emulates at least a dozen times before being deported). Since a chunk of bronze is clearly cooler than any stinky old dad he could emulate, he vows to pee like a real statue from now on.
Which means peeing 24 hours a day, every day, until the sun explodes. Get comfy, kid.
Most potty-centered books keep the training potty-centered, being that's where you pee and all. Our hero, however, is content to practice his technique anywhere gravity will allow. And I mean anywhere, starting with himself.
Someday, if he develops enough of a drug problem, a shady director will pay him to do this.
Once he conquers peeing for distance, that should mean regular trips to the toilet, right? Wrong, fucknuts -- turns out, Earth is nothing but a big, floating space commode. Our wee protagonist first aims from above, peeing on an old lady who likely lifted that umbrella in a panic the second she realized that ain't rain.
And then never closed it for the rest of her life.
Sometimes, there's nobody around to watersport with. But find an innocent animal, like this poor snail who would probably prefer not to be doused in salty, flesh-melting liquid, then it's piddle-party time.
Junior's first Little Golden Book of torture.
Then he pees in the bathtub, a perfectly normal behavior, I hope. Hey, it's in the right room -- that's progress. Except his mother is already soaking there. Yep, just peeing on mommy, no big whoop.
"I learned it from watching you, dad!"
And she doesn't notice. I don't see any Beats by Dre, so she isn't lost in the music. Since she's raised a kid who sits on the toilet and still doesn't think to pee in there, she's probably high on bath salts and too busy scrubbing thousands of ants off her body to notice why her head is unexpectedly wet and warm.
As a capper, he pees on a wall and either doesn't notice or doesn't care it's in a public place with public people who're publicly disgusted.
Banksy after 10 beers.
Why is nobody reining him in? Is he the mayor? Let's assume I'm right (it happens sometimes) and mom's a full-time dope head. Why isn't dad pulling his little junior (the human one) aside and teaching him to pee like a civilized human? He doesn't even appear until the end, congratulating his boy on successful urinal use. It's 100 percent reward, 0 percent discipline -- suddenly, this wild child's bullshit makes total sense.
Be Yourself or Lose Everyone You Know and Love
On the surface, The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings sends a simple yet incredibly important message to all who read it: be yourself. Fuck the trends, fuck what others are doing, and just be you.
For, if you don't, everybody you love will abandon you. That is literally what happens in this book, and my visible face-palming and audible ranting about it while reading with my kid is what happens when parents forget to preview.
Little Rabbit (that'll be a mighty awkward name once he grows old and fat) is bored with being a bunny. A squirrel, a duck, a blobfish -- he'll accept any role but that of a colored-egg layer.
"I'll bet elephants aren't delicious with a side of mashed potatoes."
He learns of a Wishing Pond that will grant him whatever his heart desires. His heart finally settles on "having red wings," and after wishing upon a puddle he gets them. He is, as you might expect, overjoyed.
"You fuckers have fun on your pissy old ground. Now I am become God."
That youthful exuberance is dashed in seconds, though, because when he goes to show off to his mother -- she rejects him. She doesn't recognize him in the least because "she had never seen a little rabbit with red wings before."
This must be the worst house to trick-or-treat at.
The fuck now? This kid looks exactly the same, except now he has a couple bloody tampons on his back. That's enough to throw his own mother off track? BULLSHIT -- if my kid came home with wings, I'd recognize him immediately. I might have Barnum & Bailey give him a job, but I'd recognize him at least. This loon, on the other hand, just shuts the door in her dejected son's face and sends him on his unmerry way.
But it's not just her -- living in this world means keeping up with the forgetful Joneses, because neighbor after neighbor -- all of whom have presumably known Little Rabbit his entire life -- fail to recognize him. Their excuse is always the same: "Winged rabbit? A pox on thee."
Teenage Little Rabbit will absolutely wish himself an AK-47 with several dozen bullet belts.
Finally a woodchuck recognizes him, proving this isn't just some elaborate prank meant to scare a stupid kid straight. The next day, he attempts flying, fails miserably, and starts crying out helplessly for his mother. She naturally doesn't respond to her child -- whose voice has not changed in the slightest -- but the damn woodchuck does, comforting Little Rabbit and making me wonder if interspecies adoption is legal in this universe.
He should at least accompany him to all his future therapy sessions.
Conveniently, the Wishing Pond undoes wishes too, so Rabbit immediately wishes his wings withered away. We then get a tearful reunion between an overjoyed son and the shittiest non-infanticidal mother in history.
"Thank God you came back -- another week and I would've had to start looking for you."
Rabbit, having learned his lesson, spends the rest of his life thankful for his bushy tail and humongous hind feet. He also never, ever changes his clothes or gets a furcut again, lest the flighty matron down the hall again ostracize him like Frankenstein's monster, and this time for good.
Follow Jason on Facebook and Twitter if you want to live happily ever after. Thanks to Kelly Stone for introducing me to the pee book, though the world's little old lady and snail populations might want a word with you.
For more from Jason, check out 4 Cases of Censorship That Totally Changed the Message. And then check out The 40 Most Inappropriate Children's Book Covers.