Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Let's Start a Gang!"

If there's one thing I've learned about children's literature and "learning to read" books is that they can be entirely subversive and get away with it because kids like nonsense and colourful pictures.

Take for example the page above, taken from an early reader called "The Monster Gang" by Felicity Everett.

Every time my 3-year old takes it off the shelf and asks me to read it to him, I get to this part and just start laughing. Ben could be saying anything but instead shouts, "Let's start a gang!"

I think what he means to say is, "Let's start a club!" which has very, very different connotations than his actual statement, which sends my brain pinwheeling; an out-of-control game of Fill in the Blanks.

"Eat all the ice cream in the freezer!"
"Run with scissors!"
"Stick forks in the electrical socket!"
"Dissect a frog!"
"Get drunk on dad's liquor!"
"Burn this place to the ground!"
"Shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die!"
But this is just one page out of a couple dozen that showcases any sense of subversion. The rest is a simple story of a cuddly monster crashing the first meeting of The Monster Gang. It doesn't even touch the kind of wonton criminality showcased in Theo LeSieg's (aka Dr. Seuss) "Ten Apples Up On Top." Now there's a subversive bit of writing!

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