Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shel Silverstein: Huuuge Sicko

As I mentioned recently, I've been listening to online novelty radio. A lot. Anyway, the show plays clips of Shel Silverstein reading his poetry/books. While he's known, fondly, for writing and illustrating The Giving Tree, he also has made grotesque things like the mildly vicious "I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor."

What is it with authors of kid's fiction from the 50s (and before) that somehow assumed that kids love horrifying stories? My three-year old son got a bunch of books by Maurice Sendak, author of the wonderful "Where the Wild Things Are" also wrote a sick story called "Pierre" about a kid who gets eaten by a lion.

I hated these books when growing up. They weren't fun, they were horrifying. When you're a kid, being eaten by wild animals was a real fear (it gets replaced by fear of gays and Muslims when you become an adult). Do kids enjoy this stuff and I was - as is not improbable - just sensitive because of high-IQ and/or high artistic creativity.

In any case, I hope they don't do this stuff in more recent books.

{2009 Update, pic from the Onion - showing that they agree with my assessment.}

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