With the release of Jake and Dinos Chapman's 'Bedtime Tales For Sleepless Nights' we take a look at some less than savoury stories for kids.
Last week Jake and Dinos Chapman released Bedtime Tales for Sleepless Nights, where they have "reconceive[d] the Victorian morality tale for less sanctimonious (and more misanthropic) times". The Chapman brothers take a turn as the Brothers Grimm with this new endeavor after making a creepy dot-to-dot children's colouring book. The book is full of vivid and troubling stories combined with nightmarish illustrations. Messages like "Sticks and stones/Shall break thy bones/And words will/Surely hurt you/Eyeballs and teeth/Shall be wrenched by grief/As nightfall comes/To shroud you" will make you think the Bogey Man exists and has taken the form of a Chapman brother creation!
At one point Staake put together lovely little stories about the environment and a plucky pup who becomes President of the USA (soz Obama) but did it all get too much? Possibly the king of reappropriated children's literature, Bob Staake took his experience of illustrating and writing 50+ children's books and sought his revenge. Writing inspirational ditties for children's education is a worthwhile and wonderful thing- but his series 'Bad Little Children's Books' show the strain of constantly being sunny and nice. From My First Boob Job to Polly Paints a Penis, Staake shows us the darker side of Ladybird storytime. Mein Little Kampf Reader, anyone?
Feelings and How to Destroy Them
This parody comes from the original (but much less informative) book A-Z of Feelings. However, the school of 1984 and soma think that Feelings and How to Destroy Them is a much more helpful tool for life. Children need to learn how to squash their feelings deep down into a box where not even Freud can unlock them. Sadness, anger and especially sexual urges are feelings which should be squashed and repressed so that the child may move onto a happier and much more fulfilling life in compliance with state and comrades.
And now onto the real deal...
I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much
A sentiment so popular amongst children that a fun, yet serious, book had to be produced in order to stop those awkward questions like "Why is daddy asleep in his own sick?", "Why does daddy smell like urine?" and "Daddy, why are do you have a traffic cone on your head and the word DILF across your forehead?".
One Sexy Daddy
Speaking of DILFs... Although not a children's book, you can imagine a hung-over Waterstones assistant slipping this one accidentally in beside books like Just Me and My Dad and Daddies Do it Different.
This novel could just about cope with the inappropriate title or the awkward cover art, but both together produce a stomach churning effect as One Sexy Daddy draws on those Freudian Oedipus vibes. The book also shows that single dad Adam Tyler (oooh what a strong, sexy name) needs not just a nanny to take care of his offspring whilst he's off being sexy, but a wife to cook/clean/wipe bums. Enter Stacy Poplar. "Stacy spent her days keeping house and kissing boo-boos—and her nights in Adam's bed where he showed her the pleasures she'd never known".
Go Adam! You are one sexy daddy!
Hiroshima, No Pika
It's important not to shelter children away from real, horrific issues in our recent history. This book holds a powerful message and call for disarmament of nuclear weapons and the children's book style means that the message added to with a sense of poignancy... but do kids need to know and understand the ideas of good and evil at this level? A naked corpse huddling to protect her children as a cloud of blood-red gas envelopes them sends the message across just a bit too pointedly. See also Grave of the Fireflies.
Where Willy Went
Willy is a little sperm who just wants to swim with all his other spermy friends in the big race at the weekend (true plot). This really is the BIG story of a little sperm (is Nicholas Allan over-compensating for something?). True to life, Willy wears swimming goggles as he navigates his way through the tricky ball system. Being a sperm looks pretty fun:
Pocket Book of Boners
'Pocket Book of Boners' sounds a bit painful to us, and not at all something children should have to be exposed to. The poor Joker, also had a problematic boner which meant everyone laughed at him, not with him. Moral of the story? Boys, put your boners away.