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?

Bobbie Hinman


Ruth said...

These look like fun reads for ny young students.

Anonymous said...

I think people worry to much these days. Often fears are a product of our imaginations or the unknown.

Jenny said...

Funny - my son actually picked out that alligator purse book at the library this week. He thinks it's hilarious. It actually didn't even occur to me as we were reading it to think it was too scary...but now that I think about it! ha! However, it does catch me off guard sometimes while reading an older book - that includes more violence or guns (even cigarettes and pipes!), etc. I don't remember being afraid, either, and I do think there is too much concern with safety issues these days...but I do skip and gloss over certain parts of books that make me feel unsettled.

sheeza said...

wow its so cute :)

Anonymous said...

People WAY over-react. I think "scary" books on ocassion are a good way to prepare kids for the "real world'--guess what--there ARE scary things out there sometimes. If you can't deal with them as a CHILD; can you deal with them as an ADULT?