4.10.2006

And the disturbing childrens book award goes to...

...this..

7 comments:

Ashley said...

Why?

Elena said...

It's about a puppy that won't bark. Instead he meows, oinks, quacks, moos, etc. So his mommy takes him to the vet, who reaches in and pulls out a cat. Then a pig. Then a duck. Then a cow. Finally he barks, and mommy doggie is so proud of him. As they walk home through the crowded street, mommy wants to show off her convincingly doglike puppy. So she tells him to bark. And he says "hello."

Yeah.

That's why.

Wendy said...

I think it sounds kind of cute and quirky, but I understand what you're saying. Once I heard that song "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...perhaps she'll die" again I started to realize there are a lot of children's songs, etc. that we heard as kids that are in reality really morbid and disturbing!

Elena said...

It is cute and quirky, at the same time as I find it highly disturbing. I think the illustrations are what really freak me out. They're just so very simple and pure and starkly delightful. I don't know, there's just such a perfect match between the pictures and the words... it's just awful. In a really fun and cute sort of way.

And fun and cute in a disturbingly awful sort of way.

But I guess you're right. Same idea as the old lady who swallowed a fly, and not nearly as morbid as, say, rock-a-bye baby!

Rachel said...

Meow.

slowlane said...

I go back and forth on things like this. I've seen a lot of "classic" kid's stories and songs changed to be more "kiddie friendly" and I've been sad to see them go, but I am glad to see others have been changed.

It seems that our culture currently is more loathe to introduce death, disaster, and darkness to the very young than other cultures in other times yet choose to entertain older kids and adults with those same 3d's on an enormous scale.

Elena said...

Yes, that is one of my pet peeves. Children desperately need a sufficiently powerful mythical framework to deal with these things. Everybody knows that you cannot shelter them forever, but the truth is, you can't entirely shelter them even now. All you can do is instill in them a framework that's big enough to deal with it. Fairy tales have to deal with difficult topics, otherwise we don't need them.

On the other hand, it might not be too difficult to permanently shelter my children from puppies that swallow pigs, ducks, cows and people whole.

Except that it's too late, and they're already in love with that book. =/

(On the topic of the kid-friendly and otherwise, we have a little book of the story of Joseph. It details how Isaac loved Joseph best, how all the other brothers were jealous, how they wanted to kill him, but decided to sell him as a slave in Egypt instead, how they brought the bloodstained coat back to their father. That's where the illustrations end. Then on the back cover, there's a little afterward saying "Later on Joseph became a great man in Egypt, and when his brothers were starving and needed grain, he helped them." I thought that was an absolute riot. It told all the disturbing details, only leaving out the powerfully beautiful story. Everythinig there but the whole point...)