Every Mum gets to read a lot of children’s books. I mean, a lot. Along this road of highbrow literature, you grow rather fond of some, and develop a red-eyed hatred of others. While some.. Well, some just leave you going…
‘… WTF …?’
Here, fresh from my bookshelf are some of the Questionable, the Confusing, and the Downright Crazy, some loved, some reviled. We’ll start with the one I really have issues with. It really is the worst:
- THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF ~ Marks and Sparks edition:
Three goat brothers decide they want grass. Not the grass they are already grazing, because that would be far too convenient. They want the grass they can see in the distance. The problem is that, to reach this grass, they must pass a hungry troll who resides under a bridge. After some scuffling over which goat should go first, the youngest, smallest goat approaches the bridge and, challenged by the hungry troll, suggests his own big brother would make a much more filling snack than himself. So the troll lets the smallest brother pass and waits hungrily for the middle goat. After a while Middle Goat comes along, is duly threatened by the troll, and recommends the biggest brother instead, who is, of course, much more succulent and tasty. ‘Okay’ says the troll, letting Middle Goat cross the bridge too. Finally, seeing the other two scoffing on the ‘superior’ grass, the biggest brother gets his sh*t together, approaches the bridge and, without much hesitation, butts the troll into the river ..who is never seen again. Then all three goats cavort happily around on the other side of the bridge, generally congratulating themselves, and tucking into grass. The End.
What’s the Beef?
Where do I start? First of all: WTF is wrong with the grass these three chancers are already eating? Is it not fresh/green/organic/Taste The Difference, or whatevs? Haven’t they heard that saying about the grass always being greener? It’s likely exactly the same grass, but looks better from a distance. Or maybe its astroturf. The dumbasses. I thought goats were supposed to be quite savvy?!
Secondly, why all the faffing about over who goes across first, when the biggest goat just butts the troll into the river anyway? Couldn’t he just have gone first, done that, and saved everyone else the trouble? Tw*t.
Finally – and this is my biggest beef – WTF is the message here? ‘Don’t eat me, eat my brother’? Nice. Way to sell your own family up the river for some vegetation. Assholes. The troll should have eaten all of the little sh*ts immediately, no questions asked.
Footnote to any trolls thinking of moving in under a bridge – might be a good idea to make sure you can actually swim first. You f**kwit.
2) EBB & FLO and the GREEDY GULLS – Jane Simmons:
Mum, Flo and their pet dog Ebb set up a picnic on the beach. Seagulls scoff the picnic while the Mum and Daughter aren’t looking. Ebb gets blamed for this, and goes off to a boat to sulk. The boats floats out to sea and gets caught in what appears to be a serious storm.
It crashes dramatically but conveniently back onto the beach, where the little girl cuddles the dog and apologises for blaming her. The seagulls look on, no doubt burping with satisfaction between squawks.
What’s the Beef?
Well, what have we learned?
That sulking might get you caught in an impromptu whirlwind, which will then deliver you safely and completely implausibly back onto the same spot of beach you started the story on.
That stealing often goes unpunished and the perpetrators sometimes like to hang around and laugh in your face. There might be some truth in that, but its a bit of a harsh life lesson for the under-fives, dontcha think? Ah, maybe not. I’m not adverse to introducing small children to the harsher moments in life – they are amazingly resilient. But this whole story just seems a bit… woolly.
If nothing else we definitely learn that seagulls are complete bastards… but any toddler that’s ever been on the seafront with an ice cream for more than ten seconds could have already told you that.
Oh well. The illustrations are really pretty!
3) MY NURSERY RHYMES TAB BOOK – Nikki Moulton:
Synopsis: Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep.
What’s the Beef? It’s hard not to sympathise with Ms Bo Peep’s sheep-loss predicament until you notice there are four of the f**king things right in front of her!
Maybe stop whinging about your sheep then, and just book an opticians appointment FFS.
Judging by this sorry state of affairs, maybe the Boy Who Cried Wolf was just misunderstood. What he actually needed was a decent pair of specs.
Synopsis: Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpy Dumpty had a great fall.
What’s the Beef? Could it be that he actually threw himself off the wall in terror when he spotted the MASSIVE MUTANT BEETLE INSECT THING beside him? Because I think that might be it.
MINIBUGS SERIES: Bob and his No1 Van / Jo-Jo and her Flower RoadBoat – Jessica Spanyol
Crazed insects go on Dangerous Driving spree.
What’s the Beef?
“HELLO? SPEED COPS?? I’d like to report a boat.. no, wait.. a car…. no, wait, its definitely a boat.. Erm.. anyway, its being driven into a giant paddling pool. At speed. By an errant ladybird. Everyone’s laughing! There are balloons and socks and buckets of paint everywhere! There’s a pissed-up grasshopper in the passenger seat! Yes. Yes.. What?? No, I’m not hallucinating, I just…
No, no, don’t hang up on me..don’t hang up on me.…!!”
This might actually be my favourite kids book ever for a whole bunch of nefarious reasons. It’s basically a bunch of insects crashing their cars into water, paint cans, other insects, and anything else they can find. All of this while apparently being egged on by groups of irresponsible midges, and one bespectacled ‘Mr Thornton-Jones’ who I’m pretty sure must be the local English Teacher gone awry.
Yes, the result is every bit as bonkers as it sounds, with sporadic bursts into song adding to the general chaos. If you can control your chuckles when reading it to your little person, you’re doing better than me!
Maybe skip this one if you’re trying to install a sense of caution in your offspring.. or if ‘Insane, Grinning, Incredible-Mess-Generating, Reckless Joy Rider’ isn’t top of your career wish-list for them. I mean, now I can’t unsee a teenage Eva careering towards me in a go-cart, all pumped up on banana milkshake and crisps. Imagine trying to fight your way out of all those socks. You have been warned.
PS: Have you noticed that Bob has Extra-Slip tyres on his car? Extra-slip tyres… I dont think even Hi-Q stocks them…
..and an escape door. And he’s driving a white van. I bet he tailgates pensioners and throws used KFC packaging out of the window too. *Sigh* The yoof these days.
I’ve got a feeling this won’t be my last post on this subject, as the books just keep on coming (I’m already rubbing my hands in anticipation of more Minibugs). In the meantime, though, if you have any ‘Book Beef’ to share, I’d love to hear it!