Thursday, April 11, 2013

Very Depressing Children's Books

I've still been going through old boxes from my days living at home. My recent awesome finds are some old children's books about a cat and various dogs. I read these over and over when I was little, and I think at least one of these came out of my mom's old collection.

Peppermint by Dorothy Grider 

Peppermint is the runt of a litter born at a candy shop. (Talk about unsanitary.) The shop owner begins selling the kittens for 15 cents a pop, right next to all the lollipops and gumballs, and I bet the parents were pissed. A little girl comes in, sad that she doesn't have a kitten for the upcoming contest, and the shop owner gives her Peppermint. The girl's mother wisely decides the cat needs a bath, and the cat (naturally) freaks out and falls into a tub of bluing right next to the bath. The little girl cries again. And the blue cat named Peppermint wins the contest.

Yes, this is from 1966, but who the heck has a tub of bluing next to the kitty bathtub? It's like the mother was hoping for a blue cat. And the little girl is such a whiner. But despite the very depressing kitty on the cover, this is kind of a cute book. Because there are kittens.

Patchwork Puppy by Katherine Brown

Hey, another depressing book about animals. This plain little puppy asks his beautiful mother if he's beautiful too, and she says no. (Mother of the Year Award right there, huh?) The puppy goes for a walk, asking various creatures if he's as pretty as they are. Not only do they all say no, but they hit him and rip his cloth, too! They essentially beat him up for asking if he's comparable to them. And each time, he goes home and his mother patches him up with brightly colored cloth. In the end, he's a gorgeous patchwork puppy. But it's only then that his mother says that if he's happy, he's beautiful inside and out.

While I love the fact that the puppy who wants to be pretty is a boy, this is a pretty terrible story. The message of being beautiful if you're happy definitely should have come at the beginning; placed as it is, it's still saying (in a way) that you'll only be happy once you're beautiful.

And you'll only be beautiful after someone beats the crap out of you.

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