Thankfully, my wee CEO has so far shown his mother's enthusiasm for books, and so I've enjoyed revisiting a number of my favorite childhood reads with him - that is, in addition to the umpty million books about transportation he also enjoys (I highly recommend "Backhoe Loader IV: Even More Photos of Tractors You Never Knew Existed). It has warmed this book lover's cold, icy heart, except . . .
. . . have you ever noticed just how creepy a lot of children's literature is? A lot of what I'd remembered fondly as gentle, whimsical tales turn out to be something straight out of the local TV news when read through an adult's eyes . . .
"The Cat in the Hat", Master P's current favorite, turns out to be a harrowing tale of two totally unsupervised children who cheerfully allow a perfect stranger bearing gifts to enter their home. Call me a helicopter parent, but if taken literally, those are perhaps not the life lessons one most wishes to teach a one-year-old?
|Master P - lover of dark tales and long walks on the playground|
And don't get me started on the classic "Goodnight, Moon" - because who doesn't like strange little old ladies and multiple clocks watching you as you sleep?
This extends to classic lullabies too, of course. We sing an adapted version of the long-loved, long-frightening "Rock-a-Bye Baby" here at Pretty HQ - a version that some might call self-serving, but I like to think of as feminist, in which "Mama will catch you, cradle and all." (Listen, Dada can make up his own lullaby lyrics when he's running the bedtime show, mm'kay?)
Lest you think I'm taking this all too literally - actually, if you think I'm taking anything too seriously, you've clearly not been reading this here blog for very long - I know that there's an army of English scholars devoted to understanding the dark undertones of children's literature*. Much of what appears unpalatably grim when read through a grown-up's eyes actually serves a valuable purpose in helping children learn understand their world - hence the enduring love for "Grimm's Fairy Tales" and such.
*This English minor actually took a course on this subject, therefore qualifying me as an expert in the field. Obviously.
That being said, I'll continue to sing my occasionally revised lullaby versions and sneak in some less sinister literature - for exampke, my own childhood favorite, "Eloise" holds up nicely upon further adult review - when I can.
Anyone else come across something unintentionally creepy while reading to or otherwise entertaining your kid?