START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Goodnight Parody: Adult Fun With Children’s Lit

Call it the age of irony, or better yet cynicism, but there seems to be an ever-widening market in children’s books for knockoffs, re-toolings, and profanity-laced versions of time-tested child lit classics. It is difficult, and maybe pointless, to identify exactly when all of this started. Some point to the sensational release earlier this year of “Go the F#@* to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach, the book set in the style of a bedtime story but containing a tone of supreme adult frustration, and liberal usage of F-bombs. But if you dig a little deeper, you can uncover numerous titles that provide a meta, post-ironic, what-have-you take on children’s literature intended to address contemporary life, as well as parental expectations.

Bruce Eric Kaplan, well known for his witty cartoons in The New Yorker, wrote Monsters Eat Whiny Children – a tale that is as much about whiny children as it is about petty and indecisive monsters. In the tale, two whiny children are warned that, if they don’t stop whining, monsters will come and consume them. Well the monsters come, but consumption is delayed, and delayed, and delayed due to the faltering and vacillating of a few hungry, but very irresolute, monsters. In a similar vein, there is Sylviane Donnio’s I’d Really Like To Eat A Child, which peers into a hungry crocodile’s desire to eat, above all else, a child and how it all goes terribly wrong. Both books exploit the taboo of instilling fear into your children, even though such things were the norm of children’s literature a century ago (re-read the original Pinocchio if you want proof).

On the spoof side of things: There are so many one simply cannot keep up. There is Pat the Zombie (a spoof of the popular and very saccharine Pat the Bunny) by Aaron Ximm. There is The Taking Tree: A Selfish Parody by Shrill Travesty (an obvious alias), which is an obvious (and overdue) send up of Shel Silverstein’s classic, The Giving Tree. And in the vein of Go the F#@* to Sleep, there is If You Give a Kid a Cookie, Will He Shut the —- Up? by Marcy Roznick, a parody, aimed at adults, of the 1985 children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. …And there are oh so many versions, send-ups, etc of the Goodnight Moon classic, by Margaret Wise Brown. There was Goodnight Goon, a monster filled version of the classic, and a few years back there was the political take, Goodnight Bush, which took jabs at the then President, George W. Bush, and his cabinet. The newest in this series is the tech savvy bit of cultural critique called, Goodnight iPad, by Ann Droyd (yet another alias). This particular criticism of our plugged in high tech culture, that connects us to everything, but alienates us from one another, comes in loud and clear with a thinly veiled cry to turn off and tune in (see promo video below):

With the success of the aforementioned parodies and send ups on children’s literature, you can be sure that there will be more to follow. So many sacred cows yet to be milked for all of our subversive pleasure. I am sure you could think of 3 or 4 off the top of your head. Feel free to fill in the comment section below with thoughts on this new genre, or ideas of your own that are ripe for parody.

Read more: Blogs, Children, Family, Parenting at the Crossroads, Videos, , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

18 comments

+ add your own
9:19PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Thanks much for the article! Am always looking for new stories for my children .. and how about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (?) ...:)

Thanks,
-Holly

3:44PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

thanks for sharing

5:30AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

Technology is technology. Use it or abuse it....

6:33PM PST on Nov 25, 2011

Also looks stupid to me....

11:34AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:44AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

Whats more worrying is the fact that there are an increasing number of subliminal messages in children's books and even TV programs as innocent as cartoons.

The idea or the motive behind this quite complex but it is a form of thought control and harvested in term of marketing rewards. Or in other words this is preparing children's mind for future marketing potentials. It shouldn't come as a surprise since McDonalds and other business ventures target children specifically for current and future sales. You can see this more apparently when famous clothing brands a designing provocative clothes for small children.

An offshoot effect to inclusion of this kind of material in children's viewing or reading lists has been seen in the early sexual development of children. Considering that the porn industry, clothing industry, cosmetics industry are all in need of such early developers i could guess the direction of these actions.

And if you do a bit of reaserch you will learn that people who own children's media either also own the porn media or have a share in it.

What i say may be incredible. So i invite you to conduct your own research via google on subliminal messages included in children's cartoons and learn first hand what your children are watching or being indoctored into.

7:53PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

It looks stupid to me.

2:37PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Although it is simply a "flipped" re-telling, one of my favourites is called the three little wolves and the big bad pig. A very British version of a classic tale. Read out loud it gets near hysterical laughter, every time.

10:55AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Thank you.

10:24AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

So true. Goodnight Moon was one of our grand daughter's favorites, wonder if she'll like this one? Probably will.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. So happy for all the wedding party.

What a loving, caring couple! Not just her but him also. They must have realized what so many do not…

Very interesting!Thanx!

Page 2-->final thoughts-->...we're one of the richest countries in the world; yet we have some…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.