Kids' Books to Read after Your Kids Go to Bed

Slate's Culture Blog
May 20 2011 12:52 PM

Kids' Books to Read after Your Kids Go to Bed

Although the glossy pages, adorable illustrations, and large print may suggest otherwise, Go the F**k to Sleep is no kid's read. After all, this is a bedtime story that features such rhymes as "The cats nestle close to their kittens now. / The lambs have laid down with the sheep. / You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear. / Please go the fuck to sleep."

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For a book that began as a joke on Facebook, Go the F**k to Sleep has taken the literary world by stormlast Friday, it reached the No. 1 spot on Amazon's bestseller list, a full month ahead of its release. (It's still holding onto the top spot.) Publishers Akashic Books had already pushed up the release date from October and ordered an additional print run of 10,000 copies. The early-reader parody by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés may be the latest, most popular example of the made-for-children-for-adults genre, but it's certainly not the only one. Here are a few other kids' books that grown-ups can go gaga for.

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Baby Mix Me a Drink, by Lisa Brown
"Too many of us allow our infant sons and daughters to lay about idly: napping, drinking milk, and sometimes 'turning over.' Why not have them mix you a cocktail?" Why not indeed. One of six board books in the "Baby Be of Use" series from McSweeney's Publishing (which includes such gems as Baby Make Me Breakfast and Baby Get Me Some Lovin '), Baby Mix Me a Drink is an easy-to-read collection of classic cocktail recipes with fun, brightly-colored pictures that will entrance young children. Learn to mix you rlunchtime aperitif with one hand and airplane mac-'n'-cheese into your toddler's mouth with the other.

B is for Beer, by Tom Robbins
In this book by bestselling novelist Tom Robbinswho really did seem to intend this as a story for young readers a kindergartner named Gracie is visited by a beer fairy after she steals a sip of her uncle's brew. Said fairy takes Gracie on a beer-venture, teaching all about the pilsners and lagers of the world. Robbins peppers his simple narrative with interesting beer facts (36 billion gallons sold each year worldwide!) and a good dose of humor. Although some reviewers maintain that the book is just a gag for adults, the PG storyline would make B is for Beer an interesting way to start discussing alcohol with your own kids.

Goodnight Bush, by Erich Origen and Gan Golan
Nothing blurs the line between childishness and adulthood like politics. This spoof on the classic Goodnight Moon celebrates Dubya's exit from the Oval Office and became an Amazon bestseller as well, thanks to plugs from the likes of Stephen Colbert and theVillage Voice. Authors Erich Origen and Gan Golan pegged their work as a "traumedy," as it condenses eight years of distress into a few funny pages. According to Golan,"the book isn't for children, but it shows how far Bush's reality is from the reality anyone would want for their children."

All My Friends Are Dead , by Avery Monsen and Jory John
In this hilarious yet soul-crushing coffee-table book, Monsen and John argue that humans aren't the only ones who feel loneliness: They introduce us to a houseplant whose owners forget to water him, a jug of milk whose buddies have "expired," and a tree whose best friend was turned into a side table. If you're feeling like you could use a good Friday laugh-cry combo, click here to view some sample pages.

It's Just a Plant: A Children's Story of Marijuana , by Ricardo Cort é s
In this picture book, a little girl named Jackie walks in on her parents smoking pot, which leads her mom to take her on a marijuana fact-finding adventure. Although Cortés (who illustrated Go the F**k to Sleep ) claims that the book really is for children, and that he just wanted to open up a discussion about the plant, the book's strong pro-marijuana bent caused quite a stir among the media and soccer-moms alike. (Bill O'Reilly, predictably, was not amused.) Whether it was intended as education or advocacy, though, it makes a perfectly funny and lighthearted read for adults, with or without herbal accompaniment.

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