When I was little, I had a book of cartoons called "100 Horrible Ways To Die". I'm not sure how old I was when someone made the decision this was an appropriate book for a child (cute pictures!) but I do remember that my favorite "horrible way to die" was a sky diver parachuting into the swirling blades of a helicopter.
On a related note, I received an email a few weeks ago about the book "Go the Fuck to Sleep". Have you read it? My mother forwarded it to me so I assume the only people left who haven't seen it are locked in Tom Cruise's basement (Hi, Katie!).
Just in case, the book includes prose like:
"The wind whispers soft like the grass, hon.
The field mice they make not a peep.
It's been thirty-eight minutes already.
Jesus Christ, what the fuck? Go to sleep."
It's pretty genius. Which got me thinking— are there other "children's books that are not really meant for children" out there?
An evening's worth of research led me to five others I found worthy of sharing. And just for fun, I'm going to list them in descending order. Five being most appropriate and one involving an ass raping superhero (wait for it).
5) All My Friends Are Dead, by Avery Morsen & Jory John
The adorably dark "All My Friends Are Dead" also features houseplants, zombies and cassette tapes. Perfect to get the "what happens when we die?" discussion started with your kids. I hear parents LOVE when that comes up.
4. The Taking Tree, written by Shrill Travesty and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
A parody of Shell Silverstein's "The Giving Tree"— possibly the saddest book of all time. (Can someone explain to me why we all loved this book as a kid?) "The Taking Tree" on the other hand, includes lines like— "The tree was his best friend. Which shows what a loser the kid was." Zing!
3. Monsters Eat Whiny Children, by Bruce Eric Kaplan
I found this book at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago and fell immediately in love. It's about two whiny children taken by two even whinier monsters who fight over how to cook them. Ultimately, the book teaches children a valuable life lesson: Whining leads to kidnapping and death. (Editor's Note: If you have an older kid (5 maybe?), buy this book— it's awesome.)
2. My First Dictionary: Corrupting Young Minds One Word at a Time, by Ross Horsley
"My First Dictionary" features a listing of innocuous words and childlike pictures accompanied by definitions meant for Bob Saget.
1. Ice Cream & Sadness, by Kris Wilson, Matt Melvin, Rob Denbleyker and Dave Mcelfatric
Ice Cream & Sadness is a book of short comic strips much like the ones you remember from when you were little— like Garfield or Calvin & Hobbes. That is— if they were all having a three-way involving necrophilia.
And because I promised…
I advise making a splash with these books at your next baby shower or first birthday party. If someone calls you out for poisoning the minds of young children, just remind them that Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother was eaten by a wolf and "The Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe" was a whore.
Related: Check out @SaidKristin's post— Mother Goose Was One Demented Broad
I am ordering monsters book right now! My son is three and spend a good hour today whining. So he will learn young! What doesn’t kill him makes him stronger. I need to get this monster to confirm that.
I’m buying these for myself, damn it. And that Go the Fuck to Sleep book? I think it was written just for me.
Excellent. Instant classics, every one.
My daughter and I were just talking about how she needs to read more this summer. I think I have her reading list now. Thanks Mommy Shorts! You are, as always, super helpful.
BTW – I LOVE Ice Cream and Sadness!
Who of us can’t relate to “Go the Fuck to Sleep”? I have to own this book!
Don’t forget Shel Silverstein’s “Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book” with great entries like:
B is for baby
See the baby
The baby is fat
The baby is pink
The baby can cry
The baby can laugh
See the baby play
Play, baby, play.
Pretty, pretty, baby.
Mommy loves the baby more than she loves you.
My kids love that book – they howl with laughter.
Also The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. “E is for Ernest who choked on a peach. F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech. G is for George smothered under a rug. H is for Hector done in by a thug.”
Hahahahaha!!! I am laughing so hard right now!! This was hilarious, thanks for sharing it!!
The first one literally made me bust out laughing. The poor old guy just looks so sad.
I actually don’t think the Monsters one sounds all that bad (for an older child, like you said). I mean, if we can read Hansel and Gretel to our kids (the witch tries to BAKE them, for God’s sake!), then how bad could this one be? It’s practically the same premise.
Oh, and I hadn’t heard about Go the Fuck to Sleep, so I’ll tell Katie you said hi.
Oh geez. You’re killing me. This is most awesome. I love it. They’re really books. For G-dssake, people are making MONEY off these things. Why have I not come up with a money-maker yet? (Shake yer money-maker!) Sigh.
Did you hear Katie might be expecting #2? I’m quite terrified for her. She will surely need these books to get through the future years.
I haven’t started a baby registry yet, and wasn’t even sure I was going to, but now…this changes things. I will register simply for these books. Fucking brilliant!
I must have these. ESPECIALLY the Taking Tree. I MFing hate that sappy shitbird of a book.
That’s a lot of profanity for 10:30 in the AM. I’m not even a little ashamed.
Never liked the giving tree, ever ever ever.
However, My First Dictionary may now be my favorite book of all time.
Holy crap this is hilarious. I was just e-mailed the “Get The F*** To Sleep” book the other day as well. I really had no idea these books were out there. I need the “Monsters Eat Whiny Children” for my kids. I am so ordering that one!
I’ve never heard of these books before but they seem hilarious. I think the dictionary would be perfect for my daughter. That way she can learn the true meaning of words.
In the movie version, the monsters would be voiced by George Costanza’s parents. And by movie version, I mean— in my head. Let me know if you like it!
Go the Fuck to Sleep made me laugh until I had tears steaming down my face. Saw it on FB last week. Classic! Those are the very thoughts that go through my head when my toddler refuses to sleep. Seriously.
These others look good too. Can’t wait to check them out…
That is my goal. To be an educational resource for children. Your welcome.
I’ll have to do a PART II for the classics. Scarring your children is a time tested tradition.
Classic. Someone sent me the e-copy of Go the F%ck to Sleep…
We are all demented…all the way back to the Brother’s Grimm.
I think Monsters is the Jewish version of Hansel & Gretel. You have to rad it to see what I mean. Also— I say this confidently, as a Jew.
I hadn’t heard about Katie. So exciting! I’ll start thinking of names now. How bout— Spawn of the Devil? Spawd for short. Suri & Spawd. So trendy!
Maybe his/her first word will be “HOOKER”! Then you’d really have something to show off in your “Mommy & Me” group.
i am sad no one read any of these books to me as a child. my life could have been so much different today. i do remember reading the lonely doll. now that’s another totally f*cked up not-suitable-for-kids kids book
I might order these books for myself. I don’t have time to read anymore… Maybe I would make time for these…
Note to self: Do not read Mommy Shorts while drinking hot coffee!!!
I am ashamed of myself for laughing hysterically at this:
“What is A.R.?”
Ashamed. And also laughing.
Another book for your list: The boy who kicked pigs. Look it up and shudder!
hysterical! I think I need to add all those titles right now to my nightstand. I deserve a laugh.
Those books and excerpts had me laughing! I’m going to be sharing this one with my sister and my girls (at least the older 2)!
So funny! And check out the “Baby Be of Use” series at McSweeney’s: http://store.mcsweeneys.net/index.cfm/fuseaction/catalog.detail/object_id/5bf26a7c-80c6-4fd6-90d6-a6d9c7462611/BabyBeofUseSixBookBundle.cfm
I want all of these books! Great blog topic!!
I need the “Go the Fuck to Sleep” book for my daughter and they need to make a “Wake the Fuck Up” book for my husband.
Absolutely awesome. I love this!
I’ve had about 20 different people email me about Go the Fuck to Sleep book. All of them saying it made them think of me. I don’t think these people think I’m a good parent…
These are awesome. I just feel better knowing that these are out there.
Ha ha ha! I’m loving all those books, but I’ve got to say I love the line ‘”The Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe” was a whore’ the best. I’d really like that on a t-shirt.
My son is now reading and I was wondering what good books were out there…..still wondering….
This is so freakin’ funny. I like the comic strip about the sick deaf guy. That took me a sec but it’s hilarious.
My 6 year old is finally reading and I was wondering what good books were out there….still wondering….
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! I cannot believe these books are real! Say it ain’t so, Ilana!
You know, you really are the best mommyblogger ever.
These are the antidotes to helicopter parenting, no?
Another wonderfully inappropriate children’s book that I have already bought for my future (far in the future) children is “Happy Dog the Happy Dog”. It’s written by Ryan North and illustrated by Allene Chomyn, two web-comic writers. It includes great lessons like “Some diseases can make your body alien to you,” and “When you grow up your parents may reject your sexuality”. You can buy it through topatoco.com
These books are at the top of my shopping list!
Oh man, that last one. So wrong. So funny.
And don’t forget “cautionary tales for children”…great art AND um, cautionary tales.
Here’s one to add to the list. I bought it while pregnant with my son and the guy selling it assured me that although most of the books he had for sale were not for children, this one actually is. I like that the author uses “faggy” more like a synonym for awesome.
Really I can’t believe people read this shit to their children why ruin there innocence with this stupid shit. They can learn about the real true meaning of words when they grow up. I mean they’re innocent children come on get together I feel so sorry for these kids who can’t control what there parents read to them.
Check out “GRANDMA STINKS!” by Mark C Collins on Amazon.com.
Offensive to old people, but funny as hell with a good message at the end.