So for this Monday Listicles, it is all about books. We thought we were going to be like kids in a candy store, unable to focus on what sort of list we would want to make because books are, well, like candy to us. But like the assassins we have been tagged to be, our only real choice was to list children’s books we would love to assassinate or, at the very least, throat punch.
Confused and mildly worried blog reader say, “What?”
We are talking, of course, about The Character Assassination Carousel hosted by the hilarious and industrious Nicole Leigh Shaw over at Ninja Mom Blog. Each month a guest blogger steps up to roast a different children’s book. I can see you going, “Oh, now I know what they are babbling about.” For those of you in the back, still in the dark, click on the badge to get the full scoop. And do it quickly because you’re blowing our cover.
Ten Children’s Books We Wanna Throat Punch
2. The Giving Tree– We cannot continue with this list without mentioning the Jason Bourne of Assassins herself, Ninja Mom. The Giving Tree has always made Ellen feel all give-the-boy-a-throat-punch. How self-centered can one kiddie lit character be? He is at the very least a diagnosable narcissist. Ninja Mom gives the tree her moment to vent. Boo-yah!
Now allow us to branch out on our own for some target practice pot shots.
3. Franklin– Poor little turtle is toting a world of problems in that shell, so you almost feel bad for him. Unfortunately, he’s more needy than a Kardashian with a maxed AmEx. When he’s afraid of the dark, he doesn’t just buy a nightlight like everybody else, he’s that friend who wants to talk it out. A LOT. “Hey, I am afraid of the dark, what are you afraid of duck and fox and bear and beaver and raccoon and the whole freaking forest. Oh, and he is so virtuous and wholesome, and daggum nice, that he could be the mayor of Mayberry. Warning: This book could give you cavities . . .or a migraine or migraines because of cavities.
4. Margaret Wise Brown—Classic kiddy lit is not that different from classic adult lit—someone told you that it’s good for you, but you have no idea why. In this case, all the world of kiddy lit LOVES this lady, and this lady is well, a little nuts. Rhyme schemes come and go, sentence structures fall apart, and the laws of good grammar are suspended. It’s enough to make adults reach for a little something to help this go down.
5. Olivia — This line, “You wear me out but I love you anyway,” from Olivia’s mother is your warning. Between singing at the top of her lungs, painting things she shouldn’t, and scaring the bejeesus out of her brother, Olivia is the kind of pig known an a “negative influence”. She is a rollicking good time (if you are on the pathway to juvenile delinquency), so kids LOVE her, but if you have your own spirited little Olivia, this might be another book worth passing on.
6. The Thomas the Train books– How could such an adorable premise like talking trains lead to such creepy books and an even creepier show? These books really do make your skin crawl. The fact that their merchandising is taking over the world seems to us the fruition of their evil plan.
7. Sheep on a Ship-–Had a long day? Are you a little tired? Under the influence of any medications or numbed to mental mush by a day spent with your offspring? DO NOT PICK UP THIS BOOK. We are channeling Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars here to shout, “It’s a trap.” For your tongue that is. Unless you have your full wits about you, this book will expose your babies to a whole new world of language that is probably best left to the locker room. Just trust us on this one.
8. No, David!– The good news: This is the whole book. This phrase, every page. Shwoo. Easy read. The bad news: It is chock full of bad ideas. The ugly: Kids lap this book up like it’s their manifesto. It’s basically a primer on how to send your parents to the edge, and since all children are just waiting for an excuse and some resources to bring the house down, you have been warned.
9. The Berenstain Bears–AKA The Boringstain Bears. Saccharin sweet adventures make us yawn anyway, but these books are a double-dose of Ambien… or Ipecac. Donate these to that new mommy you might not be the best of friends with. Über-competent Mama Bear, with her Cracker Jack Box psychology, will give her such great parenting ideas. But on the truly helpful side, clueless Papa will justify all of the semi-homicidal feelings she has been having towards her hubby during her all night breastfeeding marathons.
Think our pot shots are funny? Do yourself a favor and check out the whole list of full length lampoons over at Ninja Mom Blog.
And check out all the other Book Listicles on Stasha’s The Good Life.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski