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6 Bafflingly Dark Moments In Beloved Children's Book Series


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6 Bafflingly Dark Moments In Beloved Children's Book Series published by Evanvinh
Writer Rating: 5.0000
Posted on 2016-03-12
Writer Description: Evanvinh
This writer has written 733 articles.

Think back to when you were a child and your parents would read you to sleep ... or to when you learned how to read yourself to sleep while, let's face it, your parents were out at the dog track. Children's books were, and are, a magical window to fun and adventure written by authors who are presumably too lazy to write something for adults.

And now that you've grown up, chances are A) your literary tastes favor more refined fare, like Nietzsche and Dean Koontz, and B) you subsequently missed the fact that your cherished books of yesteryear went completely apeshit the moment your mind migrated to adult concerns, like taxes and the butts of Instagram.

#6. The World Of The Berenstain Bears Gets Pretty Damn Dark

The Beloved Series:

The Berenstain Bears have made headlines in the past few years for having their books packaged with homophobic garbage food, and the theory that the spelling of "Berenstain" proves that part of the Earth's population came from a parallel universe, Jerry O'Connell-style. But the series' legacy will always be those pastoral picture books that deal with everyday issues, such as cleaning your room, learning table manners, and forcing yourself to play baseball to live out the shattered dreams of your oafish father.

Where Things Went Wrong:

The Berenstain-verse got surprisingly intense, and like dinner at Phil Spector's house, guns eventually made an appearance. The Berenstains started branching out into children's chapter books that addressed weightier subjects. One such subject? Fucking school shootings.

The Bear County Second Amendment: The Right to Arm Bears

The post-Columbine book No Guns Allowed has its heart in the right place, looking to tackle the issue of gun control in the same way messy rooms and junk food had been so swiftly dealt with. But like finding out that Narnia was teeming with meth-heads and gang wars you never knew about, this book reveals that the brightly colored Bear County of your childhood was secretly a pretty fucked-up place. For starters, everyone's obsessed with firearms and violence, as seen in this illustration featuring a bear unloading a shotgun, which, let's face it, is going to be your new desktop background.

Also, their boxing follows Rock 'em Sock 'em rules.

Mama Bear even has visions of anthropomorphic guns chasing her, also known as Tom Selleck's happy place.

The only way to stop a bad dream with a gun is a good dream with a gun.

Things get really fucked up when one of the creepy kids (the one with the hat and glasses that clearly signify a descent into madness) shows up to school with a gun.

It turns out to be just a rubber-band gun, and thankfully the kid isn't taken out by the SWAT team that shows up -- yup, you heard that right, Bear County has a goddamn SWAT team.

Presenting the Internet's only G-rated image of a bear unloading on another bear's backside.

Another book reveals that Bear County has become overrun by drugs, because kids everywhere were clamoring for The Berenstain Bears to be more like The Wire.

The Berenstain Bears And The Most Blatantly Obvious Public Drug Deal In Recorded History

The story follows the hunt for a drug kingpin whose been flooding the streets with narcotics. Probably because "Bearoin" seemed a little on-the-nose, the drugs are just called "Happy Pills"-- which frankly sound like they might be the only way to escape the shitstorm that is life in Bear County. By the time you get to the book about computers in which a child Internet-dates an older man ...

... you'll long for the days when the biggest problems in life were an upset stomach from eating all those lost hikers.

#5. The Magic Tree House Kids Are Surrounded By Death

The Beloved Series:

Sadly, the biggest adventure most kids with treehouses face is clearing out the empty beer bottles and used condoms left there by trespassing teenagers. But the Magic Tree House book series takes place in a world where a treehouse is an instrument of magic, transporting kids through time and space, enabling them to battle pirates, ride dinosaurs, or help the CIA fake the moon landing.

"Magic Tree House: Dawn Of The Lizardmen Illuminati, coming soon."

Where Things Went Wrong:

In a later installment, the kids travel back in time to meet Abraham Lincoln -- you know, the guy who abolished slavery but is somehow commemorated on the cheapest forms of currency. Once at the White House of yesteryear, the kids meet Tad and Willie, Lincoln's sons -- one of which tries to fight our hero. So, if there's one historical takeaway here, it's that Lincoln's son was kind of a dick.

"You're going to need a proclamation to emancipate my foot from your ass."

Hopefully, the kids reading this story don't know their history well enough to remember that Lincoln's sons died tragically: Willie at 12 from a fever, and Tad at 18 from heart failure. It's like reading a Hardy Boys book that ends with Frank getting hit by a car and Joe finding a tumor.

Eventually, the kids travel back further in time and meet Lincoln himself, when he's a small boy. Because of their meeting, Young Lincoln is kicked by a horse, knocked unconscious, and starts bleeding from the head -- so for a minute it sure seems like the Magic Tree House kids may have inadvertently created a chilling dystopian future where slavery's still legal and Daniel Day-Lewis has only two Academy Awards.

"Four hemorrhages and several brain cells ago ..."

Luckily, young Lincoln doesn't die. When the kids travel forward in time and meet old Lincoln, they have a nice chat while failing to mention that he probably shouldn't be making so many outings to the theatre. Back in the present, the Tree House kids realize that most of the people they meet die horrible deaths -- young Willie died just one year after they met him. So hopefully the rest of the books are just about the kids coping with the unconsidered moral implications of their wacky adventures.

#4. The Final Mary Poppins Book Is About Freeing A Child Slave

The Beloved Series:

Mary Poppins, everyone's favorite non-Fran Drescher nanny, is most famous because of the classic Disney movie. But the beloved character first appeared in book form, which spawned several sequels that never became movies, probably because the author, P.L. Travers, hated Walt Disney.


Where Things Went Wrong:

The eighth and final book, Mary Poppins And The House Next Door, found the adorable Banks kids getting a new neighbor: Mr. Banks' old governess, whom he hates almost as much as P.L. Travers hated Walt Disney. She isn't alone, either; she's accompanied by a small, dark-skinned boy, whom she keeps locked in a goddamn trunk! It's not some kind of magic trunk, either; it's literally a human being stuffed inside luggage.

"Wait, let's not settle on 'boy' just yet. I've heard of these platypus creatures."

It turns out the kid's name is Luti, an island "native" who's been taken from his home to get a Western education -- which seems to be entirely composed of reading books while living with this old lady: He's not in school or anything. In exchange for being taken to England (in luggage) he's basically this lady's slave, feeding her and giving her medicine. Oh, and he's not allowed to leave the house. Even a spoonful of sugar isn't enough to swallow this bullshit.

Is ... is that a fucking head?

After finding Luti sobbing to himself one night (because he understandably misses his home and family), Mary Poppins decides to free the poor child. They escape and, bizarrely, ascend to the moon, where the man in the moon sends Luti home, via some kind of magic cloud.

Our guess is that cloud came from a different Mary.

By the way, this book didn't come out in, like, the '30s or some unenlightened time -- it was written in 1988. That's the same year Die Hard came out. If John McClane had enlisted a child slave from a vaguely defined tropical island to help him reclaim Nakatomi Plaza, people would have lost their goddamn minds.



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