Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Children's Stories: Not meant for the faint of heart

I've been reading the girls The Wizard of Oz before bed each night. I never read the books when I was young.

It's the first non-picture book I've read to the girls. The movie gave me nightmares as a kid, and the book is even more frightening. The Witch has only one eye, and she enslaves Dorothy for weeks. The Lion is also forced to be the Witch's slave. Her winged monkeys leave the Tinman in a ditch to rust to death, and they scatter the Scarecrow all over the tree tops.

Along the path to kill the Witch, the Tinman cuts off the heads of some beasts and the Scarecrow rips off the head of a crow.

When did we become such pansies when it came to children's literature? The real story of Cinderella in Grimm's Fairytales involves the step-sisters cutting off their feet. Do you know what really happens to the Little Mermaid in the Hans Christian Anderson version? She turns into sea foam, along wth all her sisters.

I don't think publishing houses allow children's writers to even mention murder in kids' books today, even if it was only due to defending a life. My sister Mary, the madame librarian, will have to weigh in on this one.

So far, the girls haven't had nightmares. I'm having a hard time sleeping just now, though. Could be due to the news more than The Wizard of Oz. Who can sleep in an economy like this? Back to work!


Kim said...

We have been reading Captain Underpants, Encyclopedia Brown, and Chronicles of Narnia. I'm a sissy and like to shelter my kids, so we'll stay away from Wizard of Oz. Thanks!

C.C. Fisher said...

If I remember correctly, Chronicles of Narnia is rather violent too.

Christensen's Craziness said...

Have you ever seen Disney's Snow White? We took Geraden when he was just a baby. They talk about cutting peoples hearts out and then cut the heart out of a pig, not exactlly kids fare.

Amo said...

I read all of the Wizard of Oz books as a kid and loved them. The Wizard of Oz was probably my least favorite of them all. The others seem more exciting. I don't remember ever being scared, but I was probably in 4-6 grade or so when I started reading them. Kids need to hear books with plots and good writing. A lot of the fluff they read today (i.e., Junie B. Jones -- which Gracie loves), seem to leave a lot to be desired. Then again, I loved the Ramona books and maybe that's what folks said about Ramona back then too.

MarySquare said...

I don't remember the scary parts of Wizard of Oz either and I read every one that the Heyburn school library had. I have yet to venture into the world of chapter book reading to Minnie yet. I think she's ready, I'm just haven't done it.

And though I'm a librarian, I know almost nothing about children's literature and young adult literature. I only know what I've read as a child -- I didn't take any kids lit or YA lit classes in school. My sister-in-law Anna-Lisa would know a lot more.

Min actually likes books with a little scary in them. She's really into witches right now so she likes to read books about them. Right now she also loves reading Arthur books. I'll have to jump into the world of chapter books -- I've never read the Little House on the Prairie books so I thought maybe we could start with those.

Mr. Flynn said...

We have been reading the Winnie the Pooh books. We are on "The House at Pooh Corner" right now. We read it to them while they are in bed so we try to keep it on the tame side of things--I don't like to get up to hug away the nightmares in the middle of the night.