5/7/18

Children's books explained for paranoid and unimaginative adults


Annie and the Wild Animals
Annie’s really sad because she can’t find her cat, Taffy. So she decides she’d like a new pet to replace her. How does a little girl do that? She puts corn cakes out on the edge of a wild northern forest in the middle of winter and then waits around to see what happens, that’s how. Naturally, all sorts of animals show up: moose, bears, lynxes, wolves… but curiously, no cute and cuddly little house cats. Luckily, these extremely dangerous, mostly carnivorous, and probably quite ravenous predators that need to eat their weight in meat every sixteen seconds miraculously go for the corn cakes and not for the girl. The obvious question at this point is: Where are her parents and why are they letting her do this? Annie leaves corn cake after corn cake out by the edge of the wood, but finds the animals not really suitable as pets. “This one’s too grumpy for a pet,” she says, referring to A GRIZZLY BEAR. I feel like she could really use some adult supervision at this point. But instead, she ends up just standing around outside with a gray wolf, two bears, a wildcat, and a moose, and she’s thinking “not one of them is friendly and soft like Taffy,” while of course the reader is thinking DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH DANGER YOU’RE IN RIGHT NOW?! YOUR PARENTS ARE CRIMINALLY NEGLECTFUL PEOPLE! Eventually she depletes an entire barrel of corn cakes, enough to sustain her whole family through the long winter. She just wastes it all on wild animals that would get no nutritional sustenance at all from measly little corn cakes. What happens next? Well, having run out of corn cakes, the animals invade her home. That’s right. You’ve got a moose poking its head through your window with its enormous glassy dinosaur eyes, while all those other animals start murdering each other just outside the house, all of them by now hooked on sugar like crack addicts needing their fix because of Annie and her stupid corn cakes. Are her parents off cross-country skiing to the nearest general store 136 kilometers away in the middle of Norway to get more winter supplies and also perhaps some rifles and ammunition now that all the wild animals in the forest identify their house as a gratuitous food source? I hope so, because there aren’t any more fucking corn cakes. Thankfully, Spring comes early and Annie eventually gets rid of the animals. Just then, who decides to prance on up? Taffy. Turns out she got knocked up and ran off to a tree somewhere to give birth to a bunch of kittens—none of which got eaten by any wild animals either, through some kind of miracle. Who do you think got Taffy pregnant, by the way? Another cuddly little house cat who just happens to live in a wild forest? Those kittens are probably half lynx. They will not be cute and cuddly for long, and they may even eventually decide to eat their own mother. I really really hope her parents show up soon. 

The Story of Babar the little elephant
This is the story of an elephant called Babar whose mother is murdered after a hunter puts a bullet through her head so the little elephant weeps over her carcass before he runs away and finds himself a sugar mama who apparently has a thing for elephants. Babar gets her to pay for his debauched lifestyle as he develops an instant taste for fancy clothes, cakes, cigars, and driving red convertibles around the countryside. This guy just lost his mom but he’s picking out derby hats and shoes with spats while hiring photographers to take his picture. Nice. He then gets bored and ungratefully dumps and abandons his sugar mama in order to marry his visiting cousin Celeste in what comes across as a disturbing incestuous twist, but not before he drives back to the forest and makes his aunts run behind the car the whole way in what can only be described as a total dick move. Once they return to the forest, he becomes king of all elephants after the previous king dies a horrible death from eating bad mushrooms. It can take up to 40 hours to die from mycotoxin poisoning; the pain is excruciating, your liver disintegrates, and there is nothing anybody can do about it. That’s how the sadistic author has the king die. Anyway, Babar is made king based on no solid credentials at all other than that he “returned from the big city… and learned so much among men.” Um, do you know what he did in the big city? He rode an elevator up and down ten times in a department store until the elevator boy had to tell him it was not a toy. That’s your new king, elephants. None of them seem to give a shit, however, because rather than reconsidering their choice for king, they have a big lavish wedding for Babar and Celeste instead, and Babar trades his derby hat for a gold crown. The elephants then fly off for their honeymoon in a hot-air balloon. That’s right, two elephants in a hot-air balloon. Do the math. I don’t mean to spoil the sequel—Babar’s Travels—by pointing out the obvious here, but they will eventually crash onto an island in the middle of the ocean because TWO ELEPHANTS IN A BALLOON.

Clifford the Big Red Dog
Clifford is a big red dog. And that’s pretty much it. This book makes it clear that you don’t really need any creative ideas to come up with a successful children’s book series. How did the author pitch this? “I have an idea for a children’s book.” “Go ahead, let’s hear it.” “There’s a dog.” “And?” “It’s a red dog.” “And what else?” “It’s a big red dog.” “Anything else?” “It’s a really really really big red dog.” “Um, ok. Does it have a name?” “Clifford.” “Ok, whatever, it's probably 1950 or something so let’s publish it I guess.” But the thing is, Clifford is way too big. He’s like a four-story building. Except he’s not consistently the same size either, which is really confusing. Sometimes he’s as big as a horse, sometimes he’s as big as a tower. This is very unsettling. Plus, he’s clumsy. Who wants a gigantic clumsy dog running around their city? I don’t. Can you imagine the slobber and the smell and the urine as you shovel your car out of a fifteen-foot pile of dog shit every morning? How do you stay chipper and positive for the child reader under those circumstances? Oh Clifford, what have you done now you naughty dog? Have you gnawed a busload of people to death, licked your testicles above the town square, rubbed your anus on the airport tarmac, and humped the church steeple because you’re in heat? Hmmm? What purpose does a freakish dog on steroids serve in an idyllic children’s world? Some books in the series include: Tummy Trouble (YIKES), The Grouchy Neighbors (of course they’re grouchy, how can anybody tolerate having a dog like this anywhere near them?), and Topsy Turvy Day (oopsy daisy, our Brobdingnagian hell hound just ripped through our town in a tooth-and-claw tornado causing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage while ruining people’s lives forever, I guess we should have given him a few hundred more doses of rabies shots after all).

Green Eggs And Ham
This is a book about a pushy pedaler trying to get Sam I Am to eat green eggs and ham. I think Sam I Am is pretty justified in not eating green eggs. He’s very patient about it, too. If someone kept following me around telling me I should eat eggs that have gone green, I would report him to the police. Also, judging from his name, Sam I Am may be a little “special”. So this is doubly worrisome. But this prick just keeps hounding the poor guy going “Come on Sam I Am, eat the green eggs and ham, eat it with a toucan holding a frying pan crapping in a trash can driving a caravan to Uzbekistan.” Why doesn’t he calm the fuck down? This is the only children's character ever created who is almost certainly on crack cocaine. Eventually his sociopathic persistence pays off and Sam I Am eats it, because he’s not too bright, but the author has the good sense to stop writing just before Sam I Am's food poisoning kicks in and before the green eggs and ham character starts circling burning tires on a stolen bike while screaming the national anthem on a feces-covered street lined with hookers in Skid Row. 


On The Night You Were Born
On the night you were born, your mother’s water broke and the moon smiled and the stars peeked in to see you as your father rushed around in a frenzied panic gathering things for the hospital, and the night wind whispered, “What do you mean you can’t find the car keys?” Life will never be THE CONTRACTIONS ARE BECOMING MORE FREQUENT. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANYONE AS DUMB AS YOU EVER IN THE WORLD, HOW CAN YOU NOT FIND THE CAR KEYS? Oh great, it’s windy and rainy too, listen… hear that? It’s like they’re whispering the sound of your dad’s name: FUCKTARD. It sailed through the streets, high on the smoggy city breeze, and through the gray buildings, until everyone heard and everyone knew the angry labor pains you induced. After mommy got wheeled off and daddy got lost in the hospital, he burst in on a scene of utter confusion and chaos, as you hung upside down all purple and screaming, blood and mucus and I-don’t-know-what everywhere, me holding the baby as my eyeglasses fogged up because of my heavy breathing through the surgical mask I had to wear, and I was terrified of dropping you while an overworked and clearly irritated nurse at the end of her shift took photos of this magical moment. There had never been such confusion, fear, panic, and anxiety. So if ever you doubt how special you are, listen for cars honking in the street as I try to figure out the baby seat, or notice the way the house is now like a zoo, or drift off to sleep after waking up every hour to scream from hunger, or keep us up so we can keep the moon company till morning, because never before in story or rhyme (not even once upon a time) has the world ever known a you... although it has known people pretty darn similar to you who have pretty much the same eyes and ears and nose and toes as you, and do more or less the same things you do, and have done, and always will do, even though I concede none of it will technically be exactly the same but still, similar enough that everyone is really basically the same… on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.


Goodnight Moon
In the great green room, were a series of safety hazards, starting with a burning fire and a red balloon. There was also a young mouse, running around the house. And a giant rabbit lady in the corner of the room like a creepy Donnie Darko nightmare ready to pounce. And how did a rabbit get into my kid’s bed, or even into the house? What is going on here? Whose mittens are those by the fire? Why are there no noises outside? What do you mean, “Goodnight nobody”?! Why is that whole page empty? Why do I feel a cold sweat coming on? Who just said "Hush"? Why is the empty rocking chair rocking back and forth? Why is the light on in the little toy house by the rocking chair? What kind of tiny glowing demonic incubus has occupied that little toy house? Who was grooming themselves with a comb and a brush, after eating a bowlful of mush? Oh god, where did the giant rabbit lady go? Does she have those big long sharp knitting needles in her hands? She’s right beside me, isn’t she? ISN’T SHE?!


In the Night Kitchen
Mickey hears a sound at night, so he jumps out of bed and obnoxiously screams “QUIET DOWN THERE!” as any deranged kid would. He then manages to lose all his clothes and land in a giant bowl of cake batter where he is quickly cornered and circled by three cannibalistic Oliver Hardy clones who try to cook him in an oven. Mickey, whose angry screaming reaction to having heard a mere thud at night had seemed a tad extreme, is now surprisingly blasé about having almost been cooked to death by three maniacs singing “Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter!” So Mickey calmly points out that he is not milk instead of saying, for example, AAAAAAH! But instead of running the hell away and calling the police, Mickey actually helps these psychopaths find milk for their cake. Here’s a valid question: If bakers don’t know the difference between milk and a human being, should they be making cake? What else are they getting mixed up? Sugar and arsenic? Flour and anthrax? Icing and caulk? Eventually Mickey makes an airplane out of dough, dives into a giant bottle, and scoops milk out for them. So the three deranged bakers then sing “Milk in the batter, Milk in the batter, We bake cake, and nothing’s the matter”. Really? Nothing’s the matter!? I really do hope this isn’t why or how we have cake every morning.

Goodnight Gorilla
The zookeeper is tired, locking up at the end of the day, going around saying “goodnight” to all the animals in their cages like some kind of dimwit. He is so tired, in fact, that he doesn’t realize the gorilla has stolen his keys to EVERYTHING—the lion’s cage, the elephant’s cage, the giraffe enclosure, you name it. The gorilla proceeds to free himself from his cage, and then goes on to let all the other animals in the zoo out of their cages. This guy doesn’t even notice that there’s an elephant behind him. All these animals then follow the zookeeper to his house and they get straight into bed with him and his wife. Do you know what my wife would do and say if she found out that I was responsible for bringing zoo animals into our house and into our bed? I’ll give you a hint: it would not be “Oh!” followed by her getting up from sleep to take all the animals back to the zoo with a flashlight in her hand. Meanwhile, her stupid zookeeper husband just keeps sleeping in the bed! How is he not AT LEAST on the couch by now, if not thrown out onto the street by his wife who surely must've had enough of his incompetence and imbecility? But there he is snoozing away while the missus takes the animals back and puts each one into its cage. She's a keeper, Mr. Dumbfuck Zookeeper! But guess what? The gorilla just sneaks back in and gets into bed with them again anyway. This book should be called Goodnight Get Out And Stay The Fuck Out Gorilla and Stop Stealing My Keys.

Caillou
Finally, a sensible, reasonable, perfectly suitable children's book character and series for sensible, reasonable children and their parents. I love Caillou. This is by far the best children's book series and character ever created. I highly recommend it to all parents. Caillou is just a normal kid doing normal things, and doing them PROPERLY. No tantrums, no meltdowns, no fits. This kid goes to his mom's office and just smiles and says hi to everyone, listening to and obeying his mom every step of the way. He sits in his mom's chair and DOESN'T try to rain fists on his mom's keyboard while blowing a cyclone of raspberry-propelled spit at her computer screen until she has to pull him off screaming. When mommy has work to do she simply suggests that Caillou go and paint a picture, and PRESTO, Caillou just happily goes off and quietly draws a picture! Wow. This is exactly how kids should be. This is an ideal children's world. Caillou isn't red and fifteen kilometers tall, he isn't getting naked and being cooked in an oven by insane Oliver Hardy clones, his mom doesn't get murdered by a hunter, a bunch of animals don't escape their cages and sleep in his bed, he doesn't ever even come close to marrying his first cousin, there are no grotesque giant rabbit women haunting the corner of his room, nobody's trying to push green eggs and ham onto him, and he sure as fuck isn't going around feeding corn cakes to grizzly bears in wild forests. Instead, Caillou just plays with his cat (which DOESN'T get knocked up by a lynx, by the way), he plays dress-up with his dad (and DOESN'T insist he go to school that way and throw a tantrum when his dad says no), he hears a funny noise at night (and DOESN'T jump out of bed and scream "QUIET DOWN THERE!" like a fucking brat). Whoever wrote Caillou has absolutely no imagination whatsoever, which is a very welcome relief. As you can tell, I cannot say enough good things about Caillou. Parents, get this for your kids, get the whole series, because Caillou is waaaay better than your own children.