If you’re a children’s book hoarder like I am, and can be found scouring every $1 book bin at every flea market in the universe in the hopes your kid grows up to be a literary wunderkind, sometimes you end up with some duds. These are the books that make me grumble when Lotte gleefully requests them at bedtime.
4. I’ve already written about the horrifying stereotypes in this otherwise well-meaning book. Mr. Pellegrino, shown flipping a pizza, is “the color of pizza crust”? Mr. Kashmir sells spices and is “the color of ginger”? Cringe-worthy.
6. A few months ago I was elated to find this crusty old book from my childhood in some dank corner of my parents’ basement. I remember pouring over this book as a little kid, with its charming illustrations. Just look!
Look at those little cute spiders and Wanda’s crazy amazing hair! AWW! Except, no. I read the book to Lotte the second I got home and HOLY SHIT is it sad and maybe even an example of child abuse. It’s child endangerment, at the very least.
Wanda is a little witch happily practicing spells in her house when she gets distracted by friends and goes out for a broomstick ride, without reversing the spell that brought a few spiders and flies into the home. Her bitchy mother sees the spiders, gets pissed she didn’t clean up after herself and dumps her daughter in a land far, far away where the humans live. She literally ditches her kid in this place where everyone picks on her ratty hair and tattered clothes and basically treats her like shit. See?
She’s fallen into a deep depression because HER MOTHER ABANDONED HER. Days later (Weeks? Months?) she peels a zillion bushels of potatoes and her shitty mom picks her up to bring her home… and she never forgets to clean up her mess again.
7. I hate Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I hate everything about him, from his voice, his high-rise shorts and white gloves, to that tail. OH, THAT RAT TAIL! Rest assured, I never let my daughter in on my ill feelings toward this magical mouse. It’s my secret.
Lassie and his family go camping in the woods, only to find that it’s covered with trash because people are horrible, selfish assholes. Some deer slashes her leg on a broken bottle and almost bleeds to death by the side of a waterfall.
Lassie risks his life to clean the forest of the syringes, crack vials* and other symbols of human greed and excess and I spiral into the darkest bowels of depression. *There really weren’t crack vials and syringes, just tires and shit, but it’s just as sad.
9. I’m an art teacher. I adore Frida Kahlo; have read many books on her life; hold the deepest admiration for her paintings and have written a few papers on her work. This should be my dream book, right? RIGHT?!? Maybe this book would be less terrifying if I gave my kid acid, or taught her how to rip bong hits at age 4.