Scary Kid’s Books
I would never burn a book. Even if the Adversary himself penned a fiery novel with graphic scenes of goat fornication and virgin sacrifice, I wouldn’t censor or ban it. But as a sane individual, I have my filters. Parents and teachers might want to upgrade their filters these days, because some of the crap that slips through the sieve of common sense and moral judgment looks perfectly innocent and endearing. Since I’m a good teacher, I sift out certain books that others use regularly as literacy or curriculum materials. I’m not talking about the obvious “Heather has Two Mommies” and “Daddy is a Transgender Pole Dancer” or other politically-charged quasi-pornographic drivel. This is a list of the poisonous kids books you and your kids have been ingesting for decades.
A brother and sister sit alone in their home, bored, as rain pours outside. Where the hell are their parents? A large black and white cat wearing a candy-stripe top hat suddenly appears at their door. He didn’t knock, he didn’t have permission to come in the house, he broke in! Are you alarmed yet? Nevertheless, the bored brother and sister ask him no questions and show no fear as this obviously freaky grown-up figure entices them to “play some games” and “see some tricks.” The compliant little kids are more than happy to allow the intruder to run rough-shod through their home, with the only protestations coming from an anxious goldfish who is endlessly tormented through the entire ordeal.
The strange intruder grooms the children throughout the story, always reassuring them that “there’s nothing to fear,” despite the fact that there are no parents around to protect them. The Cat in the Hat draws the wide-eyed children into his “games,” virtually destroying the furnishings within the house. He invites two additional home invaders, sexless, and barely human, to assist in his vandalism spree. Thing One and Thing Two, scary little demons that they are, take over the home and get the children to join in their mayhem making, while the Cat in the Hat cruelly mocks and frightens the goldfish.
Think about it. The Cat in the Hat inures its young reader to strange, grown-up home invaders. It makes boredom a legitimate excuse for destructive behavior. This sick little book teaches that the private property of other’s can be wantonly destroyed as a pastime. And finally, “The Cat in the Hat” makes a hero of an adult male figure who lulls little children into doing things they know they should not do, with promises that they will not be caught, and it will be fun. Can you see why I have a problem with “The Cat in the Hat?”
This stupid book by Shel Silverstein is the how-to manual for abusive relationships. A self-centered little boy loves a beautiful, lush apple tree, and the tree loves the little boy because he provides her company. But the boy makes demands of the apple tree, starting with her leaves and fruit. As time goes on, the little boy becomes increasingly indifferent to the needs of the apple tree, and the tree becomes increasingly desperate for his company. The boy grows into a man and demands her branches, and the sick, abused tree gives them to him so he can build a house. The self-centered little creep finally grows into a bitter, lonely old man, and pathetically declares that he needs the tree’s trunk so he can make a boat and sail away to writhe alone in his self-pity. The tree, her self-worth destroyed and her life and love wasted trying to please a sociopathic monster, relents and gives him her trunk “because she loves him.” Finally, a broken aged old man returns dejected to sit on her trunk because the world understood what the tree did not, that the boy is a loathsome waste of skin. The ruined tree let’s him sit on her remains as the final sentence of the book declares, “and she was very happy.”
The counseling profession in this country has enjoyed a boon for decades because of this throw-away piece of flotsam by Silverstein. It teaches that in order to be loved that you must give something of significance, and that if you don’t give it, then you’re not worthy of being loved. “The Giving Tree” models the asymmetrical relationship between one who cannot give love, and one who cannot bring herself to expect love, or even civility. This inane book teaches that a person, no matter how callous, self-serving, and dependent, will always get love because there are stupid trees whose happiness doesn’t matter as long as there is someone to keep them company. Can you see why I have a problem with “The Giving Tree?”
“The Rainbow Fish” is one of the most insidious pieces of propaganda promoting the virtues of Marxism I have ever seen. This colorful book features an innocent little fish, Rainbow Fish, who is exceptionally pretty, covered with iridescent scales, who lives on a reef with countless plain fish who conform to their populations. Rainbow fish becomes the subject of taunting from the plain, unremarkable reef fish who envy his exceptionalism and want him to “share” his scales. The entire reef targets the young fish who becomes confused and frightened at the constant cries for him to share his beauty.
In what is conceptually a violent form of suicide, the Rainbow Fish relents and plucks out his scales and gives them one by one to all the demanding fish on the reef. “The Rainbow Fish” is a toxic diatribe which teaches that exceptionalism is unfair, and that those with something special literally OWE everyone else a piece of themselves. The Rainbow Fish is an allegory featuring haranguing by socialist agitators, bullying, forced compliance to mob rule, and suicide, all dressed in pretty colors and sparkly foil pictures in a book for very young children. Can you see why I have a problem with “The Rainbow Fish?”
Note to parents and teachers. Don’t take for granted that children’s literature is all sweetness and innocence. Tenets of Marxism, sexual perversity, and twisted notions about love are being introduced to children as soon as they can flip the pages of a brightly illustrated book. Like the tasters of the king’s courts of old, parents and educators need to provide a filter for the ideas to which little children are exposed to ensure that no poison is getting through.
by Marjorie Haun 10/31/13