Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Worst Children's Books Ever

Over at The American Scene they're debating which book can wear the crown as the worst children's book ever. I think you'll be surprised at some of the books that come up in the debate- Little Women, Curious George books, Judy Blume books and Dr Seuss (!?).

One commenter mentioned The Ugly Duckling , for him the story was traumatic. "Ugly duckling is shunned and harassed by peers for being ugly. Duckling grows up and becomes attractive. Shows them, hah! Moral: If you’re young and ostracized, you better hope you grow up and turn out hot. Otherwise, you’re screwed." He certainly has a point.

One commenter suggests Hansel and Gretel. How nice is it to read to children about Hansel and Gretel's parents trying to kill them and then in the end somehow all is forgiven and they go back home to the potential killers? Most fairy tales are pretty gruesome that way, but I liked them as kids, though possibly Hansel and Gretel less so. My main beef was the house made of gingerbread. All I could think was how sticky everything would get.

JK Rowling gets a few nods. Seems to be a lot of hatred for The Polar Express and The Giving Tree. Make sure you scroll down almost to the bottom for the lovely cartoon strip- The Unforgiving Tree. HA! If I were a tree, I'd likely be that one. Damn! How much abuse must trees take?

I agree anything Care Bear related MUST be on this list. But I remember being a kid and not liking Velveteen Rabbit. I couldn't believe how cruel it was. I hated the pictures of the poor rabbit thrown in the garden.

Which children's book do you think deserves to win this award?


Miss Footloose said...

It's true that once you really think about these stories, you suddenly see them in a different light. Still, I survived them without trauma that I know of.

Old children's songs often have rather strange things in them as well. But you're so used to them, you don't hear the words really until you start paying attention to them!

Miss Footloose

Lauri said...

What I really hated when I was a kid was Wizard of Oz on TV. I always watched it as I loved the Lolly Pop Kids (are they twins?)and ther good witch, but those monkeys- MY GOD! Who thought that was a good idea for kids? I would break into a cold sweat and start panting. It was awful.

Gutsy Living said...

I never remember them as being traumatic as a kid either. Interesting to read them all again as an adult.

Helen Ginger said...

I can't think of any children's book that left me traumatized or scarred. Sometimes we go overboard as adults trying to protect our kids, perhaps. I do know my daughter hated the movie Wizard of Oz as a kid.

Straight From Hel

LadyFi said...

Practically all the Grimm Brothers' stories are cruel or frightening in some way or other!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Snow White was horrifying. The guy was supposed to KILL a sweet little girl and bring back her beating heart to the evil queen? What? Really?

I adored Little Women and Curious George. Don't see how they could even be on the list.

If Dr. Suess was mentioned, shame on them!

Great post.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

After reading your post yesterday, I got to thinking about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang last night. I didn't like that book much, but my sister did. She was so excited when the movie came out. I watched it with her but I still thought the premise stupid. And that irritating name!

Lauri said...

You know Elizabeth I never cared much for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I was not a big fan of silliness when I was a child, a bit serious. Though I did adore all Dr Seuss which in a way was silly, but I thought always clever. And I loved the irreverence.

I agree when I was a child Snow White and the others never frightened me, I usually felt sad but it always came right in the end for the good guys so that was nice too.