Friday, September 9, 2011

Innocence Lost

We are definitely a book worm kind of family. Our coffee table is covered with books-- cookbooks, novels, how-to books, poetry, and now, children's books. I was thrilled when we were getting Amelia's nursery ready to take my childhood books out of storage and place them on her shelves. I added to her collection whenever I saw books on sale and envisioned many hours of reading time together.

Reading time is starting to be particularly enjoyable because Amelia is really beginning to understand that a book is more than a teething toy. She leans forward with interest when we read and helps us turn the pages. She particularly enjoys hearing a story after she wakes up from a nap so she can be cuddled.

It was with this in mind that I grabbed a couple of Golden Books off her shelves earlier this week after she woke from her nap. Randomly I grabbed two of the silver spined books with a smile, looking forward to holding Amelia close and rediscovering the stories of my youth. One of these books was The Lively Little Rabbit:
Looks sweet and whimsical, does it not?

I sat Amelia on my lap, held her close, announced the title of the book, and cracked it open with a smile. The only book I really remember the storyline of is The Poky Little Puppy, since I made my mom read it to me repeatedly. We began our story, Amelia looking intently at each page. Blah, blah, blah, there was a lively little rabbit, blah, blah, blah, happiness, blah, blah... wait, what's this?
A mean old weasel that EATS LITTLE RABBITS FOR BREAKFAST. WTF?!? I paused and looked at Amelia, debating whether to read on. Well, I mean, she's only ten months old, and it's a children's book, surely it will not get worse.

It did get worse. Much worse.

So, on we read, the bunnies devise a plan to stop the mean old weasel, working with some wise owl (which, um hello Mr. Author, owls freaking eat bunnies too, I looked it up) to fashion a dragon costume and scare off the weasel. OK, well, things are looking up for the bunnies. Surely they will scare the hell out of him so he doesn't eat the precious little bunnies.

Nope. There was a fatality. In the freaking Golden Book about sweet little bunnies.

And not just some foolish wandering bunny to teach any kind of lesson about following rules or anything like that. No, the weasel EATS THE GREAT GRANDMOTHER BUNNY. They even specify that it was great grandma on dad's side of the family. As evidenced here:

I was stunned. I don't remember death in this books when I was little. Perhaps my parents skipped over these parts, or maybe it just really isn't the big deal I'm making out of it. We finished the story and I put it off to the side to show Amelia's daddy when he got home from work.

As I shared the story from memory with him, Jon was also rather shocked. To show him that I really wasn't making it up, I showed him the book. After looking at the worst pages, he flipped it over to the back cover to see if the description involves the harsh reality of life and death in the animal world.

No description. Just this general happy talk about how lovely and innocent Golden Books are:
Really, Golden Books?!? Your books entertain, inform, stretch the boundaries of the imagination??? I suppose discussing how death occurs in nature is informational, but I was hoping to hold off on that part of Amelia's education at least till she's, oh, I don't know, walking or potty trained. Here, sweet little baby, let's read about animals eating each other, isn't that nice?

And here I should probably point out that I'm not a naive person. My family eats meat, my dad used to hunt. I've seen a dead deer in the back of his truck, and though seeing it made me cringe, I ate that venison (don't give me that poor Bambi crap, where do you thing your hamburgers come from? They didn't magically grow in the refrigerator case at the grocery store). I have no issue with Amelia knowing how nature really works and so forth. I just didn't anticipate that occurring at ten months of age or from one of my sweet childhood books.

I guess this does teach me an important parenting lesson though-- always preview your children's books, movies, etc. before just forging ahead and letting them read/view it. You really can't judge a book by it's cover!

1 comment:

ckaiser said...

This makes me hungry for little bunny foo foo. LOL jking.