Adrienne Furness from WATAT is gracing 7-Imp with her presence again this week. This time she and I (Jules, that is) are having a conversation about our favorite Slightly Demented Picture Books. Hubba wha? you say. Adrienne will kick it all off with an explanation. Enjoy! And we hope folks will join in and add to our list . . .
Adrienne: Back in August, Jules and I began bonding over our shared love of what we’ve decided to call Slightly Demented Picture Books. It started with Jules’ review of Bob and Otto, written by Robert O. Bruel and illustrated by Nick Bruel. She and I have been talking about Slightly Demented Picture Books ever since.
So what makes a picture book slightly demented?
These are books that we love and that kids love that make other adults uncomfortable. My favorite example is the version of The Three Little Pigs that I tell in my preschool storytimes. I like the more traditional version where pigs one and two get eaten. There is none of this being saved by the smarter brother. No deus ex machina woodcutter. Kids love this version of the story. They huff and puff right along with the big bad wolf, and they nod or giggle in a satisfied way when the wolf gets a good meal and moves on. Cautionary tales make sense to them: those pigs make their homes out of inferior materials and suffer the consequences. That’s life, and I think this kind of story helps children make some sense out of a world they often find mysterious and difficult.
My telling of this story bugs adults. Every time I share it, at least one or two ask me if I’m not worried about warping the children. Honestly, I’m more worried about the telling where pigs one and two are saved. The theme of the original story has to do with the way our actions have consequences. Versions in which the first two pigs are saved by the pig who built his house out of bricks suggest that someone smarter will be there to bail us out when we do something stupid. I think the real problem is that adults hate to talk to children about the ways in which life is difficult. I think they hope the children won’t notice.
Of course they notice, and so do we. In that spirit, we’d like to offer you some of our favorite picture books that tell big truths about life in a way that makes us laugh a little. Or a lot. Read the rest of this entry �