More Kids' Books to Read after Your Kids Go to Bed

Slate's Culture Blog
May 24 2011 1:30 PM

More Kids' Books to Read after Your Kids Go to Bed


Last week, we posted a list of companion books to Gothe F**k to Sleep , the illustrated bedtime story that's been embraced byfrustrated parents across the country . (Sample rhyme: The cats nestleclose to their kittens now. / The lambs have laid down with the sheep. / You'recozy and warm in your bed, my dear. / Please go the fuck to sleep." )


Looks like we're not the only fans of the made-for-children-for-adultsgenre: Brow Beat readers nominated several titles we missed in our originalroundup. Here's a second list, culled from the collective wisdom of ourcommenters:

The House That Crack Built , by ClarkTaylor and Jan Thompson Dicks
The title may be a pun on a famousnursery rhyme , but the content here is far from cute or funny. Full ofstrong political and social commentary, TheHouse that Crack Built is the anti-bedtime story: Its poetic, hip-hopinflected rhymes and powerful imagery trace the drug's journey from the fieldto the street. ("This is the Street of a town in pain / This is the Girl who'skilling her brain.") For an introduction to the book, check out this short skit .

The Gashlycrumb Tinies , by EdwardGorey
All you jerks who stifle a laugh when someone falls down thestairs: This one is for you. TheGashlycrumb Tinies perfectly reflects its author's last name. It begins, "Ais for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears," followedby a scene of violence for every letter of the alphabet. Hilarious, creative,and undeniably worrisome, this book brings out the sadist in each of us.

UncleShelby's ABZ Book , byShel Silverstein
This is one of the most famous books in the made-for-adultsgenre, written by one of the biggest names in illustration and children's rhymes.Published in 1961, Uncle Shelby's ABZBook is touted as "A Primer for Adults Only" a slogan that became especiallyapropos after sections were published in Playboy magazine. Uncle Shelby's fun suggestions range from playing hopscotch withactual Scotch to cutting your sleeping father's hair. Silverstein has alwaysgone to weird places with his rhymes, and UncleShelby's ABZ Book is no exception. It's like Where the Sidewalk Ends , withjust a bit more bite.

TheAdventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle , by Patrick Rothfuss,illustrated by Nate Taylor
The presence of a princess, a teddy bear, and a monsterunder the bed would all lead one to believe that this is, in fact, a children'sbook. That would be a mistake. With three different endings to chose from (onesweet, in case you choose to read it to your kids), the gruesome,shocking elements in the final pages of ThePrincess and Mr. Whiffle restrict this book to the adults-only table.

RuthlessRhymes for Heartless Homes and MoreRuthless Rhymes , byHarry Graham
This book of"heartless vintage verse" is certainly not for Hallmark lovers but it would begood for fans of Struwwelpeter .Originally published in 1899 and 1930 under the pseudonym Col. D. Streamer, Graham'smeanspirited, cranky poems include such dastardly characters as a nurse whomistakes a baby for a muffin, blinds the infant by sprinkling pepper on it,then decides to keep mum about the whole situation. ("Laying low and sayin'nuffin," she says to herself.)

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