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Malthus
03-07-2008, 02:19 PM
The example I'm thinking of is this: my parents found for my son a stash of really old children's books, including an old version in English of Babar the Elephant.

Boy, was reading this a hoot these days.

The story in a nutshell: Babar's mom is shot a la Bambi, so Babar wanders into the city. Here, he is picked up on the street by an "old lady", who, for reasons not explained, decides to dress Babar in nice clothes and bring Babar to live with her.

Soon enough, the old lady is buying Babar a fancy sports car and indeed "whatever he wants".

When we read this, we burst out laughing - it sounded like Babar was a rent boy. :D I guess when this was written in the 1930s, people wouldn't jump to such conclusions (though it *was* France, so who knows? ;) )

Any other examples you can think of, of stuff that would raise a smile these days but was considered normal at the time?

Qadgop the Mercotan
03-07-2008, 02:24 PM
I remember a kids book called "Socks", about a black kitten with 4 white paws.

He was ostracized by the other kittens for being different.

His solution: Dip his paws into an inkwell, and Voila! he looked just like the other kittens who were then nice to him.

What a nice moral for today! :rolleyes:

pinkfreud
03-07-2008, 02:34 PM
When I was very young, I loved a series of itty-bitty books called "Tiny Nonsense Stories."
Among the characters therein: a kitten with a gun and a duck who smoked cigarettes. :eek:

You can see 'em here (http://www.neighborhoodvalues.com/nv/books&mags/kidsbooks/TNS3.jpg) (The Cowboy Kitten and Uncle Quack).

Caricci
03-07-2008, 02:41 PM
That's not how the Babar story goes these days?

I particularly remember the former king dying of mushroom poisoning. Tell me they still have that!

Malthus
03-07-2008, 04:13 PM
I remember a kids book called "Socks", about a black kitten with 4 white paws.

He was ostracized by the other kittens for being different.

His solution: Dip his paws into an inkwell, and Voila! he looked just like the other kittens who were then nice to him.

What a nice moral for today! :rolleyes:

Heh, here's a question: there is a story in the Struwwelpeter, a 19th century German book of children's verse, about some White boys who tease a Black boy because he's Black; they are punished by being turned Black themselves:

http://www.fln.vcu.edu/struwwel/bub_dual.html

My question is: horribly racist, or progressive for its time? ;)

Malthus
03-07-2008, 04:15 PM
That's not how the Babar story goes these days?

I particularly remember the former king dying of mushroom poisoning. Tell me they still have that!

I honestly don't know ... I just have the old version.

BrainGlutton
03-07-2008, 04:25 PM
Any story involving an army drummer-boy. There was a time when we weren't so squeamish about putting children in harm's way. (Remember the 12-year-old midshipman in Master and Commander?)

TWDuke
03-07-2008, 04:28 PM
Does it get much weirder than Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass? All the dark reinterpretation's of recent years are kind of redundant. This is some scary, freaky shit, complete with insanity, giant bugs, and several near-death experiences. Oh, look, the maid threw a plate at the baby and it cut off his nose! That's OK, he's a pig now.

fessie
03-07-2008, 04:30 PM
I bought a batch of old, used Curious George books on eBay. And promptly threw out the one where George is walking down the street and decides to get into a car with a couple of guys he'd never met before.

Malthus
03-07-2008, 04:37 PM
I bought a batch of old, used Curious George books on eBay. And promptly threw out the one where George is walking down the street and decides to get into a car with a couple of guys he'd never met before.

:eek:

That one is just so wrong. :smack:

BrainGlutton
03-07-2008, 04:41 PM
Old thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=317779) pointing out what now appear to be jarring notes of racism in the original Bobbsey Twins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobbsey_Twins) books.

Guinastasia
03-07-2008, 04:53 PM
I remember a kids book called "Socks", about a black kitten with 4 white paws.

He was ostracized by the other kittens for being different.

His solution: Dip his paws into an inkwell, and Voila! he looked just like the other kittens who were then nice to him.

What a nice moral for today! :rolleyes:


Huh-I think Beverly Cleary wrote a book called Socks about a kitten dealing with the new baby in the house.

I remember Disney doing the "B'rer Rabbit" books, when I was little, pretty much divorced from the Uncle Remus setting. It wasn't until I got older that I found out the origins. (I loved B'rer Rabbit getting caught in the honey pit or whatever it was. Damn.) :(

Yllaria
03-07-2008, 05:09 PM
That would have been the tar baby, not the honey pit.

The movie Song of the South had Uncle Remus in it. It's pretty much never played now. Most of the merchandizing for and after the movie concentrated on the cartoon characters. At least most of the merchandizing I saw when I was a kid. There may have been some with the live action part of the story when it first came out.

Now I've got "Uncle Remus Says" stuck in my head. It was on a Mouseketeers record that we had.

BrainGlutton
03-07-2008, 05:20 PM
I remember Disney doing the "B'rer Rabbit" books, when I was little, pretty much divorced from the Uncle Remus setting. It wasn't until I got older that I found out the origins. (I loved B'rer Rabbit getting caught in the honey pit or whatever it was. Damn.) :(

And yet, the original book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Remus) was not really racist, except in its employment of a broad African-American dialect. It was simply a collection of authentic black folktales.

gaffa
03-07-2008, 05:26 PM
Does it get much weirder than Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass?

Read the Victorian children's poem "Goblin Market" (http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/roset01.html) and you tell me. This poem drips with freaked-out sexuality.

OpalCat
03-07-2008, 05:45 PM
I bought a batch of old, used Curious George books on eBay. And promptly threw out the one where George is walking down the street and decides to get into a car with a couple of guys he'd never met before.
I remember re-reading the first one as an adult and realizing how the man with the yellow hat gets George in the first place (essentially tricks him into climbing into the hat, then sticks him in a sack and takes him home) and being shocked :eek: :eek: :eek: and since then I just haven't felt the same way about any of the stories. :(

Guinastasia
03-07-2008, 06:10 PM
And yet, the original book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Remus) was not really racist, except in its employment of a broad African-American dialect. It was simply a collection of authentic black folktales.


This was an updated Disney version. We belonged to a Disney book club, and they sent a few of the Uncle Remus tales, only without the dialect. (I loved the Tar Pit story-"OWIE KAREMI!!!")

Eggerhaus
03-07-2008, 06:51 PM
I remember a book called "The Five Chinese Brothers". One has a long stretchy neck, one could hold all the waters of the oceans in his mouth...etc.

TWDuke
03-07-2008, 07:00 PM
Read the Victorian children's poem "Goblin Market" (http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/roset01.html) and you tell me. This poem drips with freaked-out sexuality.I've read it, but I didn't realize it was intended as a children's book :eek: I agree about the freaked-out sexuality, although it could also be interpreted as very spiritual. It's a beautiful poem, in any case. Christina Dante was either one of the most or least repressed writers of her time.

(I've wondered if the movie Labyrinth wasn't inspired by it a teensy bit. So many of the movie's influence are explicitly acknowledged, though, that I think this may not be the case.)

Voyager
03-07-2008, 07:21 PM
Old thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=317779) pointing out what now appear to be jarring notes of racism in the original Bobbsey Twins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobbsey_Twins) books.

Not just them - Howard Garis and his wife wrote the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, Uncle Wiggly and a host of others. The original Tom Swift books had a stereotypical black character, with accent and all. However the character wasn't handled too badly - he was brave and loyal, and at least avoided some of the worst racism.

I've read a few of the original Nancy Drew books to my daughter, and they're much worse.

BrainGlutton
03-07-2008, 07:25 PM
I remember a book called "The Five Chinese Brothers". One has a long stretchy neck, one could hold all the waters of the oceans in his mouth...etc.

Oooh, that was weird! And what other children's book features that many methods of execution?!

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
03-07-2008, 07:45 PM
The Water Babies, a Victorian children's book, begins with the protagonist, an abused young chimney-sweep, committing suicide by drowning himself.

And then, lovely & magical things happen to him, that makes up for his horrible life!

WHEE! Hemlock Society Youth League, anyone?

pepperlandgirl
03-07-2008, 08:15 PM
I remember a book called "The Five Chinese Brothers". One has a long stretchy neck, one could hold all the waters of the oceans in his mouth...etc.

I really loved that book. They were all identical, so every time the bad guy (the Emperor?) tried to kill them, they just took each other's place. One of them could hold his breath, and so he was sent in when the brother was to be executed.

Hal Briston
03-07-2008, 08:55 PM
When we had our daughter, my MIL went out and bought Grandma's Big Book of Stories For Children or some such. A lot of the standard fairy tales are in there, but there's quite a bit I'd never heard of -- I Love Little Pussy, for example. :dubious:

I remember a book called "The Five Chinese Brothers". One has a long stretchy neck, one could hold all the waters of the oceans in his mouth...etc.I hadn't thought about that in ages, but add me to the list of those who loved this one as a kid.

Qadgop the Mercotan
03-07-2008, 08:57 PM
I remember a book called "The Five Chinese Brothers". One has a long stretchy neck, one could hold all the waters of the oceans in his mouth...etc.
Another fan here. Thanks for the gift of that memory, which must have been last recollected by me over 40+ years ago!

Any idea the name or author of that one??

Laughing Lagomorph
03-07-2008, 09:01 PM
I really loved that book. They were all identical, so every time the bad guy (the Emperor?) tried to kill them, they just took each other's place. ...

It was a judge.

To this day my brothers and I still say "It's only fair, said the judge" when someone makes a clueless decision (he kept allowing each of the brothers to go back to say goodbye to their mother, which would allow one of the other brothers to take his place).

Hal Briston
03-07-2008, 09:06 PM
Another fan here. Thanks for the gift of that memory, which must have been last recollected by me over 40+ years ago!

Any idea the name or author of that one??The Five Chinese Brothers (http://www.amazon.com/Five-Chinese-Brothers-Paperstar/dp/0698113578/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204941789&sr=1-1), by Claire Huchet Bishop.

mobo85
03-07-2008, 09:12 PM
I remember re-reading the first one as an adult and realizing how the man with the yellow hat gets George in the first place (essentially tricks him into climbing into the hat, then sticks him in a sack and takes him home) and being shocked :eek: :eek: :eek: and since then I just haven't felt the same way about any of the stories. :(

I forgot about how George came to America. The other unusual part was "After a good meal and a good pipe, George was very tired." As Ken Jennings (http://ken-jennings.com/blog/?p=259) can tell you, George has been tamed in his later years.

bouv
03-07-2008, 09:21 PM
I remember re-reading the first one as an adult and realizing how the man with the yellow hat gets George in the first place (essentially tricks him into climbing into the hat, then sticks him in a sack and takes him home) and being shocked :eek: :eek: :eek: and since then I just haven't felt the same way about any of the stories. :(

You think that's bad, check this out. (http://plif.courageunfettered.com/archive/wc106.gif) :p

BrainGlutton
03-07-2008, 10:17 PM
It was a judge.

To this day my brothers and I still say "It's only fair, said the judge" when someone makes a clueless decision (he kept allowing each of the brothers to go back to say goodbye to their mother, which would allow one of the other brothers to take his place).

And they arr rook arike!

Terrifel
03-07-2008, 10:31 PM
A charming, educational children's book about the life of a fascinating desert reptile. (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/17/8e/dcf69833e7a0cceb904f0110._AA240_.L.jpg)

Mister Rik
03-07-2008, 10:57 PM
I remember a book called "The Five Chinese Brothers". One has a long stretchy neck, one could hold all the waters of the oceans in his mouth...etc.
Ooo! Thanks for mentioning that! I was thinking about that book a while back, but couldn't remember the title. For some reason I was remembering 12 brothers, but it's been a very long time since I read it ;)

It's funny that people complain about the "stereotypical" artwork making all the Chinese people look the same. Those people should look at some typical Japanese anime. Know why the girls all have differently colored hair? It's so the viewer can tell them apart because otherwise they all look exactly alike!

ETA: I think it's entirely possible that the book I had as a boy was The Seven Chinese Brothers (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0590420577/ref=reg_hu-wl_mrai-recs). Same story, different author, more brothers.

robardin
03-07-2008, 11:01 PM
I remember a kids book called "Socks", about a black kitten with 4 white paws.

He was ostracized by the other kittens for being different.

His solution: Dip his paws into an inkwell, and Voila! he looked just like the other kittens who were then nice to him.

What a nice moral for today! :rolleyes:
It's not just these old books. There's a relatively recent children's book called "The Rainbow Fish" where there's a fish who's got these beautifully iridescent scales that he's quite proud of. The other fish find him self-absorbed and conceited. OK, so far I get the set up. I figured it was headed for a "beauty is not skin deep" kind of a moral.

But no. The central plot point is when a "dull and normal" fish asks him for one of his shiny scales, and the Rainbow Fish refuses, so all the normal fish snub him. Lonely and rejected, he consults with an octopus, who advises him to give up all his scales and distribute them out to all the other fish, one scale for everyone. He does this, after which they all like him and become his friends.

WHAT?? The moral is that you should buy your friends? And/or that the way to deal with envy is to dilute everybody to a lowest common denominator? I hate this book.

As for weirdness in old children's books, I was always kind of put off at how Curious George was basically kidnapped from the jungle. I mean, obviously kids were supposed to identify with George, yet the first thing we see is this guy with a Big Yellow Hat trapping him, crating him up and taking him a continent away. Where's George's mama? Crying in the jungle for him?

La crème de la weird to me, though, was the second book in the Oz series. I loved the movie and read the book, The Wizard of Oz, and found to my delight that there was a whole series to follow. I stopped after book #2 because of its "twist ending" worthy of M. Night Shayamalan...

...where Tip, the ten-year-old boy protagonist of the entire book, is revealed in the last 10 pages or so to be Princess Ozma enchanted into a boy, and is turned "back" into a girl. Wha-aa-a? Did I mention I was a ten year old boy when I read this?

Risha
03-07-2008, 11:23 PM
I've found Peter Pan to be very disturbing ever since we did Oedipus in high school English. :(

hekk
03-07-2008, 11:34 PM
Weren't the original Brothers Grimm collected stories ridiculously dark and violent and gory? And anti-semitic? And pedophillic by today's standards?

Little Nemo
03-07-2008, 11:40 PM
The story of the Chinese brothers was recently redone as a graphic novel, Seven Sons (http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Sons-Alex-Grecian/dp/1932051465/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204951113&sr=8-1) by Alexander Grecian and Riley Rossmo.

JR Brown
03-08-2008, 12:03 AM
Weren't the original Brothers Grimm collected stories ridiculously dark and violent and gory? And anti-semitic? And pedophillic by today's standards?

Yes, but the original stories were (way back when) mostly told by adults for an adult or mixed-age audience, not necessarily for children, so they don't really fall under the OP's criteria.

JRB

gaffa
03-08-2008, 12:07 AM
I've read it, but I didn't realize it was intended as a children's book :eek: I agree about the freaked-out sexuality, although it could also be interpreted as very spiritual. It's a beautiful poem, in any case. Christina Dante was either one of the most or least repressed writers of her time.
I first read it in an old collection of "Best Loved Children's Stories", so at least one editor thought it was intended for children. I read this out loud once for a group of friends, and all agreed that it was quite erotic.

Apparently, Christina Dante had been involved in a very torrid love affair that ended badly. After writing this poem, she started working in a home for "fallen women".

Manda JO
03-08-2008, 12:23 AM
Jean Webster's Dear Enemy (1910), a lovely book and the little-known sequel to Daddy Long-Legs has, as a sub-theme, a dead-serious endorsement of eugenics.

FriarTed
03-08-2008, 02:14 AM
I rushed out to grab a Little Golden Book titled "Mister Dog", the cover of which has him smoking a pipe. Only a matter of time before the Tobacco Gestapo burn that!

And I have to admit that my patron saint C.S. Lewis's portrayal of the Carmoleans (sp?) in my beloved NARNIA is a bit less than progressive. *L*

NDP
03-08-2008, 02:41 AM
I rushed out to grab a Little Golden Book titled "Mister Dog", the cover of which has him smoking a pipe. Only a matter of time before the Tobacco Gestapo burn that!

Oh my God, you're right! Here's the cover (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QQY4JCYCL._AA240_.jpg).

Useless trivia: the cover picture of "Mr. Dog" is a homage by the book's illustrator, Garth Williams, to Van Gough's "Self Portrait." (http://www.sansior.co.uk/Art/Portraits/van_gough.jpg)

Actually, casual references to tobacco and alcohol in children's literature were seen as no big deal until fairly recently.

Kythereia
03-08-2008, 03:14 AM
And I have to admit that my patron saint C.S. Lewis's portrayal of the Carmoleans (sp?) in my beloved NARNIA is a bit less than progressive. *L*

Close: Calormenes. :)

Roald Dahl is the worst offender this way...

Voyager
03-08-2008, 03:47 AM
La crème de la weird to me, though, was the second book in the Oz series. I loved the movie and read the book, The Wizard of Oz, and found to my delight that there was a whole series to follow. I stopped after book #2 because of its "twist ending" worthy of M. Night Shayamalan...

That freaked me out also - not the least because Pip was far more interesting as a character.

In a later book a woman's suffragette army invades Oz. I think a lot of it was actually social satire. I think not being able to bludgeon kids over the head with it made the books better.

Voyager
03-08-2008, 03:49 AM
I rushed out to grab a Little Golden Book titled "Mister Dog", the cover of which has him smoking a pipe. Only a matter of time before the Tobacco Gestapo burn that!

They'd have to take our copy of that book from my cold dead hands. Mr. Dog also adopted a boy, (no attempt to contact the parents). Mr. Peabody was not first in this regard.

Wendell Wagner
03-08-2008, 04:45 AM
Voyager writes:

> Not just them - Howard Garis and his wife wrote the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift,
> Uncle Wiggly and a host of others.

The Bobbsey Twins, the Tom Swift, and other books in the series established by the Stratemeyer Syndicate were written by many people. (The Uncle Wiggly books weren't part of this syndicate and were written just by Garis.) The Wikipedia entry for the syndicate tries to establish which books were written by which people. You'll need to click the links for the separate series:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratemeyer_Syndicate

robardin writes:

> La crème de la weird to me, though, was the second book in the Oz series.

The Oz books are full of weirdness. That's what makes them fascinating. In any case, I find all the comments about how weird old children's books are to be strange in itself. Children love strangeness. Why would someone try to prevent children from growing up not knowing about weirdness?

mobo85
03-08-2008, 04:25 PM
Actually, casual references to tobacco and alcohol in children's literature were seen as no big deal until fairly recently.

That's because casual references to tobacco and alcohol were seen as no big deal in real life- people smoked and drank a lot back in the old days. Until it was digitally removed a few years ago, the picture of Clement Hurd on the back of Goodnight Moon showed him smoking a cigarette.

Zsofia
03-08-2008, 04:41 PM
I love the bit in George and Martha (George and Martha are both hippopatomussess.. hippopottami... hipp... more than one hippopotamus) where Martha's all, "George, damn it, quit looking through the window when I'm taking a bath!"

descamisado
03-08-2008, 04:44 PM
Not really weird per se, but I always thought Sterling North in Rascal was left alone a little too much. His mother was dead and it didn't seem like his father was around all that much. Am I remembering this correctly?

I don't know if this was bothersome or, since I liked the idea, sort of alluring. Wikipedia describes North's book is a prose poem to adolescent angst, which is why, when I read it, I thought I might like to try a little solitude and self-sufficiency in the woods too.

Farmwoman
03-08-2008, 05:47 PM
I prefer the unretouched versions as they make great conversation starters for me and the kids.

My 7 year-old was horrified over the conclusion of a tale in an old book called "The Story Road" where this little pig with a straight tail was forced by her sow of a mother to sit for hours in the hot sun with her mud-soaked tail wrapped around a stick. Poor pig. Evidently she was an embarrassment to her mother and wouldn't be allowed to go to an apple eating party if her tail wasn't nice and curly like those of her piggy sisters. All the other barnyard community stopped by to visit and feel sorry for her although no one was in a position to help the mistreated piglet. At the end, she's delighted with her new curly tail. She struts happily around the apple eating party showing off her classy ass-do.

The moral being: No pain, no gain...mother knows best...whatever. Of course, we were expecting a different moral.

Like I said, my son was horrified. "What kind of mother does that?! Why can't she just go to the stupid party with her normal tail?!" From which rose the sort of conversation no new age, politically correct kiddie lit (I don't care how good) will ever induce.

I really resent the current condescending trend toward censorship of classic children's literature. Even if the parents aren't as smart as they used to be (due largely to a couple generations on a diet of dumbed down youth literature) the kids are smart enough to note the contrasts between the way things used to be and the way they are now.

The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester New York has an excellent exhibit of children's literature through the ages and I was struck by the side-by-side excerpts from a Nancy Drew book pre and post re-edit. Granted, the point of this particular part of the exhibit was to illustrate the 'ahem' change in the depth and quality of writing for children over the years, but I was alarmed.

This article sums up the 1950 re-edit nicely:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/020799/fea_nancydrew.shtml

In an attempt to appeal to kids with ever-shorter attention spans, Ms. Adams clipped the books from 25 chapters to 20, gutting much of the lengthy, layered language and descriptions that critics claim were central to the books' charm and uniqueness.

``Gone were the leisurely styled, evocative words and phrases that kids savored in the early texts, at a time when entertainment was harder to come by,'' Mr. Heiferman and Ms. Kismaric write.

In the new and ``improved'' books, action hurtles forward faster than ever, often at the expense of plot detail and character development. Critics complain that the books have become homogenized and dumbed-down for an audience of teens who have something the first generation of Nancy Drew-Hardy Boys readers didn't: television.

Ms. Adams also eliminated many of the ethnic stereotypes that plagued popular fiction of the 1930s and '40s.

Great, so in an attempt to treat us like imbeciles they have actually made us into imbeciles.

Odesio
03-08-2008, 05:56 PM
I've found Peter Pan to be very disturbing ever since we did Oedipus in high school English. :(

I didn't find it to be all that disturbing. I do find that the ending of Peter and Wendy was a lot sadder than the Disney production. It was also a bit more violent than other versions of the story I grew accustomed to. The Lost Boys slaughtered all but two of the pirates.

Treasure Island might not be considered weird but it has levels of violence that might be unacceptable to todays audience. When the mutineers led by Silver attacked the stockade on the island Jim Hawkins, who might have been 12 or 13, went out armed with a cutlass with the intent of killing someone. Later he has occasion to utter my favorite phrase from the book.

"One more step, Mr Hands," said I, "and I'll blow your brains out!"

So we've got Jim Hawkins wielding two guns John Woo style threating to blow some dudes brains out, and they he kills Mr. Hands. It doesn't sound all that unusual but it's only strange because this is a children's book featuring serious violence, and gun violence at that, done by a pre-teen/teen.

Marc

CC
03-08-2008, 06:25 PM
I can't believe no one has mentioned Little Black Sambo, one of my favorite Little Golden Books from when I was a kid - a stereotypically black boy with brightly colored lips, etc. He gets run in circles around a tree by some hungry tigers and turned into a puddle of butter. I think we'd find that a tad inappropriate today.
I also find the Grimm stories grim, including The Little Match Girl, who freezes to death. My parents didn't read that one to me, but I discovered it in later years. Didn't read it to my kids, either. xo, C.

mobo85
03-08-2008, 06:41 PM
Despite his name, Little Black Sambo lived in India, not Africa. A number of authors have redone the story in a modern setting to remove the racial stereotypes that are attached to the "Sambo" name- for example, Sam and the Tigers (http://www.amazon.com/Sam-Tigers-Telling-Little-Black/dp/0803720289).

Septima
03-08-2008, 07:07 PM
I also find the Grimm stories grim, including The Little Match Girl, who freezes to death. My parents didn't read that one to me, but I discovered it in later years. Didn't read it to my kids, either. xo, C.

The Little Match Girl is most comonly encountered as a H.C. Andersen story, though there may be a Grimm tale that is similar. I loved it as a child. What was wrong with it?

Peter Morris
03-08-2008, 07:09 PM
Didn't LBS trick the tigers into running round the tree? And wasn't it them that turned into butter, not the boy? That's how I remember it, anyway.

nitpick - The Little Match Girl was written by Hans Anderson.

Baker
03-08-2008, 07:15 PM
In the original Snow White, not the Disney version, the wicked queen was featured at the wedding of SW and the prince. She had to dance strapped into red hot metal shoes.

Tristan
03-08-2008, 07:35 PM
In the original Cinderella, in order to get the glass slipper to fit, the stepsisters cut off their toes and heels (respectively). The Prince is alerted to the deception by a singing bird that tells him to look at floor of the coach, which is getting covered with blood.

I loved that.

Sublight
03-08-2008, 08:00 PM
I tend to raise my eyebrow at the part of Make Way for Ducklings where Mr. Mallard leaves his wife and newborn kids to "go explore up river for a week". Dude was dipping his beak in another nest somewhere.

meenie7
03-08-2008, 08:00 PM
The Little Match Girl is most comonly encountered as a H.C. Andersen story, though there may be a Grimm tale that is similar. I loved it as a child. What was wrong with it?

I can't speak for CC, but the little girl dies! What's not wrong with that?

bouv
03-08-2008, 08:05 PM
In the original Cinderella, in order to get the glass slipper to fit, the stepsisters cut off their toes and heels (respectively). The Prince is alerted to the deception by a singing bird that tells him to look at floor of the coach, which is getting covered with blood.

I loved that.

...Cause he couldn't notice on his own that the uggos were missing portions of their feet? Also, didn't he look at Cinderellas FACE?! I mean, whether or not they fit in the damn shoe, he could easily see that they looked NOTHING like the girl he danced with.

Terrifel
03-08-2008, 08:07 PM
I can't believe no one has mentioned Little Black Sambo, one of my favorite Little Golden Books from when I was a kid - a stereotypically black boy with brightly colored lips, etc. He gets run in circles around a tree by some hungry tigers and turned into a puddle of butter. I think we'd find that a tad inappropriate today.But... it was the tigers that turned into butter! Wasn't it?

I'm practically certain it was the tigers that turned into butter.

MLS
03-08-2008, 08:15 PM
But... it was the tigers that turned into butter! Wasn't it?

I'm practically certain it was the tigers that turned into butter.
Yep. The tigers turned into melted butter, which Little Black Sambo enjoyed with his pancakes.

Peter Morris
03-08-2008, 08:42 PM
I remember a story my mother read to me. It was the tale of a cake that somehow fell out of the bakers van on the way to market. This was a talking cake with intelligence, a personality and a face. It was lying at the side of the road next to a puddle of rainwater. And the puddle was also intelligent, with a personality and a face, and could talk. And they were both unhappy, because the cake had been looking forward to being eaten, and the puddle had very much wanted to be drunk. But there's a happy ending, along come a mother duck and her ducklings, who eat the cake and drink the puddle. And as they die the cake and the puddle say goodbye to each other, and how happy they are. Even aged about five, that disturbed me.

Peter Morris
03-08-2008, 08:44 PM
Also, didn't he look at Cinderellas FACE?!

It was a masked ball, with the unmasking at midnight.

JR Brown
03-08-2008, 08:54 PM
In the original Snow White, not the Disney version, the wicked queen was featured at the wedding of SW and the prince. She had to dance strapped into red hot metal shoes.

Hah, in the original version of the story, SW's mom wants her killed because the king, SW's dad, has fallen in love with her (SW) and is planning to marry her.

The Grimms were big on "justice" and made sure the bad guys suffered horribly for their crimes (they came up with some really inventive executions, such as being rolled down a hill in a barrel studded with nails), but they carefully cleaned up all the sex, incest and infanticidal mothers.

JRB

Peter Morris
03-08-2008, 09:18 PM
The Grimms didn't actually invent the stories, btw, they were legitimate scholars not storytellers. They studied German culture and language, and made important discoveries in the field of linguistics. One part of their work was to collect folklore that was already in circulation, and mostly they wrote it down as it was told to them.

Nzinga, Seated
03-08-2008, 10:25 PM
Heh, here's a question: there is a story in the Struwwelpeter, a 19th century German book of children's verse, about some White boys who tease a Black boy because he's Black; they are punished by being turned Black themselves:

http://www.fln.vcu.edu/struwwel/bub_dual.html

My question is: horribly racist, or progressive for its time? ;)

For years I have needed to answer this question, but was too embarrassed. Dammit, now is the time.

How is it that the verses rhyme in English, if the story was meant to be in German?

CC
03-08-2008, 11:26 PM
Ok, so I guess my memory is not as good as my indignation. But the Little Match Girl does freeze to death waiting for someone, or something, doesn't she? And with reference to the OP, the character of Sambo is one that we wouldn't encounter today, regardless of who got turned into butter. Crap, it was over 60 years ago that I first read it! I'm lucky I can remember that I even HAD books. ;)

astro
03-09-2008, 12:08 AM
Re the Brothers Grimm it was always a bit jarring in their tales when a solider or similar adventurer would meet a witch and more or less instantly behead her or roll her down a hill in a barrel with nails on the inside. Rough justice for witches!

Kamino Neko
03-09-2008, 12:43 AM
How is it that the verses rhyme in English, if the story was meant to be in German?

Very careful translators. Or else, rather lax translators.

Either way, the intent with translating verse is (usually) to capture the structure as well as - or sometimes rather than - the meaning.

This can be difficult, of course.

Yookeroo
03-09-2008, 01:29 AM
Disney's Little Match Girl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUSzQBaWq0Q)

Mister Rik
03-09-2008, 06:39 AM
How about the part in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (or one of the Narnia books) where Lewis describes little Lucy going around the house "making love to everybody"? Wonder how much longer we've got before that gets whitewashed out.

I love the bit in George and Martha (George and Martha are both hippopatomussess.. hippopottami... hipp... more than one hippopotamus)
"Im the Hip-Hop-opotomus
My rhymes are bottomless ... *"

Kamino Neko
03-09-2008, 07:00 AM
How about the part in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (or one of the Narnia books) where Lewis describes little Lucy going around the house "making love to everybody"?

It was in the Silver Chair, and it wasn't Lucy, it was Eustace's friend, Jill.

And what made it an exceptionally funny scene to me was that it took place in a giant's castle. (Oooow, poor Jill. >_>)

Laughing Lagomorph
03-09-2008, 10:14 AM
Not really weird per se, but I always thought Sterling North in Rascal was left alone a little too much. His mother was dead and it didn't seem like his father was around all that much. Am I remembering this correctly?

I don't know if this was bothersome or, since I liked the idea, sort of alluring. Wikipedia describes North's book is a prose poem to adolescent angst, which is why, when I read it, I thought I might like to try a little solitude and self-sufficiency in the woods too.

That book was one of my favorites when I was younger, I hadn't thought about it in years.

It was definitely strange that Sterling was left alone as much as he was. IIRC his older sister was pretty horrified at the state of the house when she came to visit.

Being a boy in his early teens (?) Sterling probably thought it was pretty cool to have as much freedom as he did, but all in all I imagine he would have been happier to have his mother around. His father came across as loving but unable to provide anything resembling a normal familly life.

Septima
03-09-2008, 10:48 AM
I can't speak for CC, but the little girl dies! What's not wrong with that?

Ok, so I guess my memory is not as good as my indignation. But the Little Match Girl does freeze to death waiting for someone, or something, doesn't she?

In life, she is cold, poor, beaten by her father, hungry and shunned.

In death, she is warm and happy, and is carried to heaven by her grandmother, who loved her.

It's a christian story about hope, in other words, written by a kind-hearted man who had nothing but sympathy for his character, and the real children like her who still existed in his day.

The creepy bit for me is not that she dies, but that the description (visions, feeling warm at the end etc.) pretty much matches what really happens when you freeze to death :eek:

phungi
03-09-2008, 10:52 AM
Not as old as I thought, but the Butter Battle Book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Butter_Battle_Book) from Dr. Seuss definitely qualifies for this thread: ...is an anti-war story; specifically, a parable about mutually assured destruction and nuclear weapons.

Skald the Rhymer
03-09-2008, 11:07 AM
I rushed out to grab a Little Golden Book titled "Mister Dog", the cover of which has him smoking a pipe. Only a matter of time before the Tobacco Gestapo burn that!

And I have to admit that my patron saint C.S. Lewis's portrayal of the Carmoleans (sp?) in my beloved NARNIA is a bit less than progressive. *L*


Calormenes, from Calormen.

PerditaX
03-09-2008, 12:16 PM
In the original Cinderella, in order to get the glass slipper to fit, the stepsisters cut off their toes and heels (respectively). The Prince is alerted to the deception by a singing bird that tells him to look at floor of the coach, which is getting covered with blood.

I loved that.


And, as if spending the rest of their lives with mutilated feet weren't enough, while riding to Cinderella's wedding to the Prince, some different birds swoop in and peck their eyes out! :eek: :eek:

That's Grimm justice for you!

Mops
03-09-2008, 02:21 PM
Heh, here's a question: there is a story in the Struwwelpeter, a 19th century German book of children's verse, about some White boys who tease a Black boy because he's Black; they are punished by being turned Black themselves:

http://www.fln.vcu.edu/struwwel/bub_dual.html

My question is: horribly racist, or progressive for its time? ;)

My take: neither racist nor progressive.

Not racist, because the nasty taunting boys are not punished by becoming African boys, but by becoming ignominously be-inked German boys. (BTW the English verses are a very free translation. They imply e.g. that it would be desirable for the black boy to be white "For if he tries with all his might,/He cannot change from black to white"; the German text says "How is this Moor to be blamed/for not being white like you?". Also the descriptive terms esp. "Mohr", while not PC nowadays (the euphemism treadmill also works in Germany), would be merely descriptive at the time.

Not progressive, because anti-black racism wouldn't be a social issue at the time, to be fought by progressives. Black people weren't a minority at the time, but a few isolated individuals. The didactic story doesn't make a 'don't be racist' point but a 'don't be a gratutiously nasty child' one.

CC
03-09-2008, 04:01 PM
Not racist, because the nasty taunting boys are not punished by becoming African boys, but by becoming ignominously be-inked German boys. (BTW the English verses are a very free translation. They imply e.g. that it would be desirable for the black boy to be white "For if he tries with all his might,/He cannot change from black to white"; the German text says "How is this Moor to be blamed/for not being white like you?". Also the descriptive terms esp. "Mohr", while not PC nowadays (the euphemism treadmill also works in Germany), would be merely descriptive at the time.
A fascinating note, showing us again how much can be lost in translation - in this case, virtually all. And, in fact, the message of the line you quote is of tolerance, not racism. (And here in the U.S. there is growing antipathy toward having children learn more than one language. This is a good example of what multilingualism can reveal to us.)

Wendell Wagner
03-09-2008, 05:09 PM
CC writes:

> And here in the U.S. there is growing antipathy toward having children learn
> more than one language.

Cite? A citation in this case would be a survey showing that there has been a change in the attitude towards children learning foreign languages. Individual statements about this issue aren't sufficient.

mobo85
03-09-2008, 05:20 PM
Not as old as I thought, but the Butter Battle Book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Butter_Battle_Book) from Dr. Seuss definitely qualifies for this thread:

Dr. Seuss had some casual racism in some of his books as well, at least before the more progressive post-WWII era: If I Ran The Zoo features a visit to Zomba-ma-Tant "with helpers who all wear their eyes in a slant," and And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street depicted, among other sights, a yellow-skinned, pigtailed "Chinaman who eats with sticks." (In later printings, the "Chinaman" became a "Chinese man," and then a "Chinese boy" with the pigtail and yellow hue removed.)

The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory explained that the Oompa-Loompas were originally African tribesmen whom Willy Wonka captured to work in his factory. After a complaint from author Eleanor Campbell published in the children's literacy magazine The Horn Book, Dahl changed the Oompa-Loompa's origin- rather than Africa, they were captured from the mythical Loompaland. (The follow-up, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, features a few "me so solly" depictions of Chinese speak which remain in the book to this day, in a scene where the American President attempts to reach the Chinese Premier, but fails- there are so many Wings and Wongs that you're likely to wing the wong number.)

JKellyMap
03-09-2008, 05:23 PM
CC writes:

> And here in the U.S. there is growing antipathy toward having children learn
> more than one language.

Cite? A citation in this case would be a survey showing that there has been a change in the attitude towards children learning foreign languages. Individual statements about this issue aren't sufficient.

Wendell: I'll spell it out for ya. C - A - F - E - S - O - C - I - E - T - Y.

Although I agree that many segments of U.S. society seem to be showing the opposite trend to the one asserted.

CC
03-09-2008, 05:35 PM
Ok, some cites. Google lists over 32,000,000 for "English only schools," but here are three you can look at to see if you can sense the sentiment I referred to:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jwcrawford/RS-az.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English-only_movement

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0228ellprimer0228.html

xo, C.

RikWriter
03-09-2008, 05:57 PM
I didn't find it to be all that disturbing. I do find that the ending of Peter and Wendy was a lot sadder than the Disney production. It was also a bit more violent than other versions of the story I grew accustomed to. The Lost Boys slaughtered all but two of the pirates.

Treasure Island might not be considered weird but it has levels of violence that might be unacceptable to todays audience. When the mutineers led by Silver attacked the stockade on the island Jim Hawkins, who might have been 12 or 13, went out armed with a cutlass with the intent of killing someone. Later he has occasion to utter my favorite phrase from the book.



So we've got Jim Hawkins wielding two guns John Woo style threating to blow some dudes brains out, and they he kills Mr. Hands. It doesn't sound all that unusual but it's only strange because this is a children's book featuring serious violence, and gun violence at that, done by a pre-teen/teen.

Marc

Shrug.
When I was a pre-teen, I routinely played war, cowboys and Indians and various other make-believe games that involved the idea of shooting people and blowing shit up.
Back in the day, we had this idea that it wasn't the pretending you did that made you violent, it was the morality with which you were instilled in real life.
Of course, we were unenlightened then, which is why now, with all the violence and anything objectionable taken out of childrens' entertainment, there is no problem whatsoever with violence among the nation's youth...

AveDementia
03-09-2008, 06:58 PM
Perhaps it's true that the Little Match Girl's story is supposed to be a Christian story about hope, but that's a demented kind of setup to demonstrate hope, and Hans Christian Anderson's story about the little girl with The Red Shoes (http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/bookid.109/sec.18/) is even worse.

To summarize- the little girl commits the sin of wearing beautiful red dancing shoes to church (instead of plain black shoes) which distracts the church people, and for that she is cursed by an angel of God to dance herself to death. Fortunately (or not depending on how you look at it) she is able to persuade a executioner to cut off her feet with his ax. Then she wants to go to church and can't manage it, so finally the same angel magically transports her there and she dies in the sunlit pew, happy as can be.

It made me sick to my stomach when I first read it as a child, and it still sickens me.

Hogwash
03-09-2008, 07:16 PM
A couple of weeks after I started as a bookseller the higher ups gave orders to move Tintin in the Congo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_in_the_Congo) from the Children's section into Graphic Novels due to racial controversy (the Wikipedia page explains it in more detail).

Sir Prize
03-09-2008, 08:29 PM
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein disturbed me as a kid and disturbs me now. Great story.

Mister Rik
03-09-2008, 09:53 PM
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein disturbed me as a kid and disturbs me now. Great story.
Speaking of which ... (http://pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF232-The_Unforgiving_Tree.gif)

Wendell Wagner
03-09-2008, 10:19 PM
JKellyMap writes:

> Wendell: I'll spell it out for ya. C - A - F - E - S - O - C - I - E - T - Y.

Cite? Where does it say that we can make up anything we feel like in Cafe Society? We're fighting ignorance at the SDMB, and that includes every forum.

CC writes:

> Ok, some cites.

This still isn't a very good cite. It shows that there are some people who oppose bilingual education. That doesn't indicate whether bilingual education is increasing or decreasing in popularity overall. Also, I didn't understand what you meant when you wrote that "there is growing antipathy toward having children learn more than one language." That could be interpreted as meaning that people are against anyone in any public school learning any foreign language. I didn't realize that you meant bilingual education.

Mehitabel
03-09-2008, 11:03 PM
I remember the Dr. Dolittle books I got out from the library when I was a kid, with the unexpurgated character of Prince Bumpo. (http://blog.plover.com/book/Dolittle.html) He had some stereotypical characteristics and was an overeducated twit but overall was a courageous and helpful man who later became a wise king back in Africa.

There's one Grimm story about a mother bird who get caught and dyed a weird color by a boy, and when she's set free the other birds chase and hit her until she reaches the safety of the her own nest. Wherein her own terrified chicks peck her to death. :eek: :(

The Them
03-09-2008, 11:37 PM
Glad to see H.C. Andersen hasn't been completely forgotten. Here's from The Wicked Prince:

Many a poor mother, with her naked babe, hid away behind the smoking ruins, and the
soldiers sought her, and found her and the child, and then began their devilish sport:

Childrens' lit should be weird; otherwise, they won't read. They'll play Grand Theft Auto. Which is weird, so they like it. And Google "Tinkerbell Images Disney" sometime for a feel of how ALL ages that movie is...

There are things I would not show a child. Prollem is, they're the so-called "wholesome" things. Better the lil' dears watch hardcore PRON than Barney the Lobotomizing Dinosaur.

Brown Eyed Girl
03-09-2008, 11:59 PM
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein disturbed me as a kid and disturbs me now. Great story.
That was my favorite book as a child until I discovered Charlotte's Web, which I'd start reading again the moment I finished that last page, multiple times.

I didn't find The Giving Tree disturbing at all as a child, it was actually comforting to know that the old man would return to the one that cared for him as he grew through life.

I did find Alice in Wonderland pretty disturbing though. Bad dreams, bad dreams!

pipperroo
03-10-2008, 12:04 AM
I can't believe no one has mentioned Little Black Sambo, one of my favorite Little Golden Books from when I was a kid - a stereotypically black boy with brightly colored lips, etc. He gets run in circles around a tree by some hungry tigers and turned into a puddle of butter. I think we'd find that a tad inappropriate today.
I also find the Grimm stories grim, including The Little Match Girl, who freezes to death. My parents didn't read that one to me, but I discovered it in later years. Didn't read it to my kids, either. xo, C.

Golden books reissued this a few years back as Little Rajani. He cleverly escapes being eaten by tigers, and removing the racist pictures, its a very good story. There is also an introduction that the original Little Black Sambo stories were written by an Englishwoman living in India.

Elret
03-10-2008, 08:51 AM
There's one Grimm story about a mother bird who get caught and dyed a weird color by a boy, and when she's set free the other birds chase and hit her until she reaches the safety of the her own nest. Wherein her own terrified chicks peck her to death. :eek: :(
:eek:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Annie-Xmas
03-10-2008, 09:03 AM
The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory explained that the Oompa-Loompas were originally African tribesmen whom Willy Wonka captured to work in his factory. After a complaint from author Eleanor Campbell published in the children's literacy magazine The Horn Book, Dahl changed the Oompa-Loompa's origin- rather than Africa, they were captured from the mythical Loompaland.

He also changed their color from chocolate brown to white with green and orange hair (I think). He had to take out one of the best lines, when Charlie wondering about the Ooompa-Loompas origin says "I think Mr. Wonka carved them himself, out of chocolate."

I am disappointed that Dahl caved in to the PC police like that.

Shirley Ujest
03-10-2008, 09:07 AM
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein disturbed me as a kid and disturbs me now. Great story.

I was a teen the first time I read this and I was nauseated at this book and how it is considered a children's book.

It is a greedy selfish boy that continuously takes from his tree ( mother) until there is nothing left.

It is co-dependency.

I cringe every time I see this book.

BaneSidhe
03-10-2008, 11:48 AM
How were the Nancy Drew books weird? I read almost all of them as a kid and don't remember anything weird. But that's just me.

Maus Magill
03-10-2008, 01:21 PM
And yet, the original book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Remus) was not really racist, except in its employment of a broad African-American dialect. It was simply a collection of authentic black folktales.
I wouldn't call the use of dialect overly broad. A similar dialect was still in use in rural Bladen County, NC as recently as 1985. Of course, it was only the old men who spoke like that. I imagine they're all dead by now.

AtomicDog
03-10-2008, 02:06 PM
A charming, educational children's book about the life of a fascinating desert reptile. (http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/17/8e/dcf69833e7a0cceb904f0110._AA240_.L.jpg)

Someday, somewhere, I'm going to use that picture as an avatar.

mobo85
03-10-2008, 02:07 PM
He also changed their color from chocolate brown to white with green and orange hair (I think).

The new Oompa-Loompas have golden-brown hair and rosy-white skin. The 1971 Wolper Productions film depicts orange-skinned Oompa-Loompas with green hair, and the 2005 film depicts regular, human-looking Oompa-Loompas.

Shodan
03-10-2008, 03:24 PM
Treasure Island might not be considered weird but it has levels of violence that might be unacceptable to todays audience. When the mutineers led by Silver attacked the stockade on the island Jim Hawkins, who might have been 12 or 13, went out armed with a cutlass with the intent of killing someone. Later he has occasion to utter my favorite phrase from the book.
"One more step, Mr Hands," said I, "and I'll blow your brains out!"

Isn't that followed by -
Dead men don't bite.
So we've got Jim Hawkins wielding two guns John Woo style threating to blow some dudes brains out, and they he kills Mr. Hands. It doesn't sound all that unusual but it's only strange because this is a children's book featuring serious violence, and gun violence at that, done by a pre-teen/teen.

MarcAnd that most chilling line in the book -Them that die'll be the lucky ones.But you are right about the violence - Long John Silver killing a man by breaking his back with his crutch, for example.

But the book gave me one of my first examples of a gentleman confronting violence - Dr. Livesy when Billy Bones is threatening him, near the beginning of the book.

The captain was livid. Pulling out a clasp knife, he balanced it on his hand, and threatened to pin the doctor to the wall.

The doctor never turned a hair. Speaking to him over his shoulder - somewhat high, that all the room might hear, but perfectly calm and clear -

"If you do not put that knife into your pocket this instant, I promise you, upon my honor, you will hang at the next assizes."

There followed a battle of looks between the two, but the captain knuckled under.Brilliant - not least because it made me go and look up what "assizes" were.

Regards,
Shodan

Annie-Xmas
03-10-2008, 03:30 PM
Pippi Longstocking. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pippi_Longstocking). A child who lives with only a horse and a monkey and has a treasure chest full of gold coins.

Malthus
03-10-2008, 03:34 PM
My take: neither racist nor progressive.

Not racist, because the nasty taunting boys are not punished by becoming African boys, but by becoming ignominously be-inked German boys. (BTW the English verses are a very free translation. They imply e.g. that it would be desirable for the black boy to be white "For if he tries with all his might,/He cannot change from black to white"; the German text says "How is this Moor to be blamed/for not being white like you?". Also the descriptive terms esp. "Mohr", while not PC nowadays (the euphemism treadmill also works in Germany), would be merely descriptive at the time.

Not progressive, because anti-black racism wouldn't be a social issue at the time, to be fought by progressives. Black people weren't a minority at the time, but a few isolated individuals. The didactic story doesn't make a 'don't be racist' point but a 'don't be a gratutiously nasty child' one.

My thought on the matter, based only on the English, was "not racist".

The reason I ask was that my edition had a lengthy disclaimer in the introduction about how racial attitudes have changed and the book doesn't reflect the racial sensitivities of today etc., which, while true, seemed to me irrelevant - the expectation appeared to be that this story was horribly offensive.

Which is sort of funny, because of all the stories in this book, this one is IMO just about the *least* offensive. Most of the others have kiddies suffering terribly for trivial offenses (such as in "little suck-a-thumb"). Which I thought funny myself, but then, I'm into the grotesque - not really suitable for the kiddies (but then again, the kiddies probably enjoy the grotesque as much as we! :D )

Another favourite was "Augustus who would not eat his soup". :p

Shodan
03-10-2008, 03:38 PM
Grossmutti always said it was "Kaspar esst die Suppe nicht".

Or maybe it was Kaspar who wouldn't cut his fingernails, so the evil spirit clipped off his fingers with giant scissors.

Regards,
Shodan

cher3
03-10-2008, 03:42 PM
My daughter really loves the Redwall series, but I hadn't read any of the books. We are currently listening to the audiobook version and I was quite surprised by the level of pretty graphic violence. Those are some bloodthirsty little fuzzies. They also (some of them) like to drink quite a bit.


I also wanted to reassure those who asked that all the original improprieties are present and acounted for in currend editions of Babar.

Malthus
03-10-2008, 03:44 PM
Grossmutti always said it was "Kaspar esst die Suppe nicht".

Or maybe it was Kaspar who wouldn't cut his fingernails, so the evil spirit clipped off his fingers with giant scissors.

Regards,
Shodan

In English, the last lines have been translated as:

"He's like a little bit of thread,
And on the fifth day, he was---dead!"

:D

Anne Neville
03-10-2008, 03:49 PM
Which I thought funny myself, but then, I'm into the grotesque - not really suitable for the kiddies (but then again, the kiddies probably enjoy the grotesque as much as we! :D )

I know that my friends in elementary school and I enjoyed telling each other grotesque stories. Mostly it was stuff like "Bloody Mary" (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/bloodymary.asp) and the "have you checked on the children" story (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/babysit.asp). I would be shocked if kids had changed so much in the past 25 years that they no longer enjoy that kind of thing.

sciurophobic
03-10-2008, 03:53 PM
That freaked me out also - not the least because Pip was far more interesting as a character.

In a later book a woman's suffragette army invades Oz. I think a lot of it was actually social satire. I think not being able to bludgeon kids over the head with it made the books better.

It's the same book.

Malthus
03-10-2008, 03:53 PM
I know that my friends in elementary school and I enjoyed telling each other grotesque stories. Mostly it was stuff like "Bloody Mary" (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/bloodymary.asp) and the "have you checked on the children" story (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/babysit.asp). I would be shocked if kids had changed so much in the past 25 years that they no longer enjoy that kind of thing.

Oh, I would agree; though I do think that nursery rhymes featuring mutilation may be a bit on the cutting edge, so to speak! ;)

Anne Neville
03-10-2008, 04:08 PM
Oh, I would agree; though I do think that nursery rhymes featuring mutilation may be a bit on the cutting edge, so to speak! ;)

Eh- Bloody Mary featured mutilation (she was supposed to scratch your face off). I also vaguely recall hearing one from a friend about someone who had a bunch of severed penises nailed to a wall. I doubt any of this stuff is much more grotesque than the stories the kids are telling each other at slumber parties and on the playground.

Now, the racist and "different is bad" themes in some of these old stories- those are probably more likely to shock kids.

Anne Neville
03-10-2008, 04:15 PM
Maybe someone braver than I could find out more about that severed-penises story by Googling it, but I am NOT Googling that...

MaxTheVool
03-10-2008, 04:32 PM
How about the part in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (or one of the Narnia books) where Lewis describes little Lucy going around the house "making love to everybody"? Wonder how much longer we've got before that gets whitewashed out.


I would find it a big hard to get outraged by that. It's not like CS Lewis deliberately put something risque in there, and now mothers are getting upset and want to protect their pwecious angels from said risque-ness. Rather, a phrase in English has changed in meaning so drastically that the same words mean something entirely different. Now, clearly, you could leave them be and assume that most kids won't notice anything at all, and those that do will get a little chuckle out of it but figure out what is meant. And I'd certainly vote for not changing it. But I wouldn't consider it some kind of weak-ass-PC-blasphemy to rephrase the sentence in a way which gave the original intent without the current confusion-of-phrase.

Malthus
03-10-2008, 04:43 PM
Eh- Bloody Mary featured mutilation (she was supposed to scratch your face off). I also vaguely recall hearing one from a friend about someone who had a bunch of severed penises nailed to a wall. I doubt any of this stuff is much more grotesque than the stories the kids are telling each other at slumber parties and on the playground.

Now, the racist and "different is bad" themes in some of these old stories- those are probably more likely to shock kids.

Depends on the age. Nursery rhymes cover a lot of ground, age-wise ...

Malthus
03-10-2008, 04:45 PM
Maybe someone braver than I could find out more about that severed-penises story by Googling it, but I am NOT Googling that...

No way am I gonna google that.

Too much wrongness is likely to be exposed by any possible search terms. :p

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
03-10-2008, 05:02 PM
Weren't the original Brothers Grimm collected stories ridiculously dark and violent and gory? And anti-semitic? And pedophillic by today's standards?
I don't know about anti-semetic, but they are certainly gory. At the end of Cinderella, in the wedding sequence, her two stepsisters walked on either side of her on the way to church, and two birds sitting on Cinderella's shoulders ate out the nearer eye of each stepsister. Returning from church, their positions are reversed and the birds eat out their remaining eyes.

Mister Rik
03-10-2008, 06:10 PM
I would find it a big hard to get outraged by that. It's not like CS Lewis deliberately put something risque in there, and now mothers are getting upset and want to protect their pwecious angels from said risque-ness. Rather, a phrase in English has changed in meaning so drastically that the same words mean something entirely different.
Oh, I agree wholeheartedly. When I first read it (at age 16) I did a double-take, but quickly figured out that the phrase didn't mean in 1940s England what it did in 1982 USA.

Kind of the reverse of an American comedian I heard talking about his time living in England. He lived in an apartment, and told about a young woman in a neighboring flat stopping by to introduce herself. She invited him to come over and "knock me up" some time ;)

Odesio
03-10-2008, 06:50 PM
Brilliant - not least because it made me go and look up what "assizes" were.


It is a genuine pleasure to find another who appears to love the book so much!

Marc

Malacandra
03-10-2008, 07:54 PM
It is a genuine pleasure to find another who appears to love the book so much!

Marc
Me too - I'm happy to have contributed to Wikipedia on it. The point about Hawkins is that he's not a poor little boy who is horribly corrupted by exposure to violence - in an age when a boy might be forced to grow to man's estate rather abruptly, that is just what he does. Without acting always advisedly (for he quits the stockade after the fight with the pirates, when the honest men are already short-handed, the captain incapacitated and the doctor elsewhere) he manages to turn the tide and help bring about Silver's downfall. There's violence in the book for sure, but at that, it's sanitised compared to a factual account of pirate goings-on or even warfare as it actually was or is - those who die mainly manage it with not too much blood and guts - and the end result is that Jim returns home with the respect of his new peers and ready to begin life as a young gentleman.

Kythereia
03-10-2008, 11:58 PM
I don't know about anti-semetic <snip>

Definitely anti-Semitic.

Text of 'The Jew Among Thorns' (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~spok/grimmtmp/175.txt)

Text of 'The Good Bargain' (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~spok/grimmtmp/006.txt)

bookbabe
03-11-2008, 02:38 AM
I vote for the classic book "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George.

A young man who lives with his 11 brothers and sisters in a crowded New York City apartment decides he wants to go live in the wilderness. He reads a couple of books at the library and then runs away to live in a hollow tree in the Catskills. He tames a wild falcon and traps and eats animals etc.

After he has been there for couple of months or so, (including living through the winter) his father eventually comes and visits him, to see how he's been.

He's nine years old. Yep, that's right, nine years old.

Dung Beetle
03-11-2008, 07:59 AM
I vote for the classic book "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George.

I thought that book was non-fiction when I read it as a kid, because of all the detailed descriptions of how he built stuff out in the woods. I did wonder why his parents didn't seem to care about him.

In Julie Andrew's The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, two kids meet a weird old man in a park and go with him to his house. IIRC, he then advises them to lie to their parents about where they were.

Shodan
03-11-2008, 08:11 AM
It is a genuine pleasure to find another who appears to love the book so much!

Marc
I can quote whole passages by heart.

As Billy Bones is chasing Blind Pew (another of the scariest characters in children's lit) away when Pew first shows up, Billy Bones takes a cut at Pew with his cutlass that "would have split him to the chine" if it had not been intercepted by the sign over Jim's parents' tavern. For years I thought it was a misprint for "chin". But it is even more vivid than that. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/chine)

And Malacandra is right - part of the charm of the book is that Jim Hawkins is not a simpering goody-goody Galahad. He is over-confident; he makes mistakes and gets scared. But he learns and grows - when he has been captured by the pirates, and the doctor comes to treat them and Jim is allowed to speak with the doctor privately, the doctor asks Jim to break his promise and escape. But Jim won't do it - "I passed my word". Part of that is because of the scene I mentioned earlier with the doctor and Billy Bones, and because the doctor has shown Jim how a gentleman responds when threatened by a non-gentleman - he sticks to his code.

All the older characters of the book are variations on a grown-up version of Jim - Long John is how he could grow up if he abandons his moral code, Squire Trelawney if Jim continues to be thoughtless but sincere, the doctor as a more idealized version of his father. And Captain Smollett is another - witness that speech Smollett gives in the scene where Long John Silver is trying to talk them into letting themselves be betrayed with a mixture of threats and promises - all lies, of course, and Long John would cut their throats and sail away the minute he had the treasure. But Smollett sits and listens to it all, and then ignores it all and gives his great, straightforward speech -"My name is Alexander Smollett, I have flown my country's flag, and I'll see you all in Davy Jones. You can't sail the ship - there's not a man among you fit to sail the ship. You can't fight us - Gray there got away from five of you. You're up a creek, Master Silver.

Now clear out of here. Hand over hand, and double quick, for by thunder! the next time I see you I'll put a musket ball into you." Brilliant. Two pages of obfuscation and threats, and Captain Smollett to cut thru all of it.

Regards,
Shodan

Max Torque
03-11-2008, 09:42 AM
I also thought "The Giving Tree" was pretty unpleasant when I was younger, but now that I'm a parent, I think I actually understand it. It's not about a selfish child; it's about a tree who loves her child so much that she gives everything she has to him, and that makes her happy.

I know, you're all probably stuck on the line, "And the tree was happy.....but not really," toward the end. The thing is, as I read it now, the tree's unhappiness comes not from being cut down, but because her child has gone away. It's about unconditional love. And I'm not sure I would have understood that if I didn't have a child of my own.

Malacandra
03-11-2008, 06:56 PM
I can quote whole passages by heart.

As Billy Bones is chasing Blind Pew (another of the scariest characters in children's lit) away when Pew first shows up, Billy Bones takes a cut at Pew with his cutlass that "would have split him to the chine" if it had not been intercepted by the sign over Jim's parents' tavern. For years I thought it was a misprint for "chin". But it is even more vivid than that. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/chine)

And Malacandra is right - part of the charm of the book is that Jim Hawkins is not a simpering goody-goody Galahad. He is over-confident; he makes mistakes and gets scared. But he learns and grows - when he has been captured by the pirates, and the doctor comes to treat them and Jim is allowed to speak with the doctor privately, the doctor asks Jim to break his promise and escape. But Jim won't do it - "I passed my word". Part of that is because of the scene I mentioned earlier with the doctor and Billy Bones, and because the doctor has shown Jim how a gentleman responds when threatened by a non-gentleman - he sticks to his code.

All the older characters of the book are variations on a grown-up version of Jim - Long John is how he could grow up if he abandons his moral code, Squire Trelawney if Jim continues to be thoughtless but sincere, the doctor as a more idealized version of his father. And Captain Smollett is another - witness that speech Smollett gives in the scene where Long John Silver is trying to talk them into letting themselves be betrayed with a mixture of threats and promises - all lies, of course, and Long John would cut their throats and sail away the minute he had the treasure. But Smollett sits and listens to it all, and then ignores it all and gives his great, straightforward speech -Brilliant. Two pages of obfuscation and threats, and Captain Smollett to cut thru all of it.

Regards,
Shodan

Talking of Pew, it's amazing what a memorable character he manages to be given really very little screen time. But one slight correction - Bones chases Black Dog away; he is so terrified of Pew, blind as he is, that he can hardly move while Pew hands him the Black Spot, and a minute later he dies of a stroke.

Smollett, of course, provokes Silver on purpose: he knows an attack from the pirates must come sooner or later, and better it were sooner while they are all ready for it. And Silver (who was otherwise the coolest-headed of pirates, able to plan, dissemble and keep his hands to himself; he would have let the gentlemen find the treasure and return the ship safely to familiar waters before making away with them if he's been allowed his way) loses his temper and falls right into the trap.

BrainGlutton
03-11-2008, 08:08 PM
Hah, in the original version of the story, SW's mom wants her killed because the king, SW's dad, has fallen in love with her (SW) and is planning to marry her.

The Grimms were big on "justice" and made sure the bad guys suffered horribly for their crimes (they came up with some really inventive executions, such as being rolled down a hill in a barrel studded with nails), but they carefully cleaned up all the sex, incest and infanticidal mothers.

JRB

Is there any published collection of the, erm, original versions?

BrainGlutton
03-11-2008, 08:10 PM
Treasure Island might not be considered weird but it has levels of violence that might be unacceptable to todays audience. When the mutineers led by Silver attacked the stockade on the island Jim Hawkins, who might have been 12 or 13, went out armed with a cutlass with the intent of killing someone. Later he has occasion to utter my favorite phrase from the book.



So we've got Jim Hawkins wielding two guns John Woo style threating to blow some dudes brains out, and they he kills Mr. Hands. It doesn't sound all that unusual but it's only strange because this is a children's book featuring serious violence, and gun violence at that, done by a pre-teen/teen.

Marc

Shades of Billy Dare, (http://archive.salon.com/comics/boll/1999/12/16/boll/story.gif) Boy Adventurer! (http://archive.salon.com/comics/boll/2000/05/26/boll/story.gif)

Sir Prize
03-11-2008, 09:50 PM
Is there any published collection of the, erm, original versions? Here's one
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Grimms-Tales-for-Young-and-Old/Brothers-Grimm/e/9780385189507/?itm=1

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