Sunday, July 11, 2010
Are Many Popular Children's Books Really Too Scary?
We live in a crazy world, fraught with danger. Many parents are worried about how to ensure their children’s safety and emotional wellbeing. There are worries today that my parents never dreamed of. Are the crib slats far enough apart? (Who knew you could get your head caught between slats?) Is the car seat secure? (My kids crawled around in the back of the station wagon.) Do the medicines all have childproof caps? (There was no such invention.) And now, parents are even questioning popular children’s books.
Why were we (people of my generation) able to read children’s books without becoming alarmed?
After all, Little Red Riding Hood walked through woods alone and found that her grandmother had been eaten by a wolf. That never scared me.
Hansel and Gretel were abandoned in a forest. I was never afraid.
The Gingerbread Man was eaten by a fox. Nope, still not afraid.
Do parents today know things that my mother didn’t know? Didn’t my mother realize that Curious George was actually abducted from his home in Africa by a strange man in a yellow hat?
Did anyone recognize the fact that the Cat in The Hat was a stranger that came into the house when the kids were home alone? And, he created chaos to boot.
In the ever-popular book, The Lady With The Alligator Purse, Miss Lucy actually puts her baby in the bathtub “to see if he could swim.” He then tries to eat the bathtub “but it wouldn’t go down his throat.” It never would have occurred to me (or my equally talented siblings) to actually try to eat a bathtub.
Will my fairy books scare anyone? After all, my mischievous fairies do sneak into houses and cause a bit of trouble.
Are people today over reacting or just getting smarter? What do you think?