Last week, Inga at Cool Kidz Cool Trips skewered Pooh and his buds from the Hundred Acre Woods.
As a former kindergarten teacher (uh...and current mommy?) I want my kids to love reading. I held on to my classroom library from my teaching days so I could expose them to the classics...basically anything by Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, Patricia Polacco, Jan Brett, and Kevin Henkes. Over time, we found new favorites for the bookshelf, mostly Mo Willems, Jim Arnosky, and The Magic Treehouse series.
But, because I want my kids to love any kind of reading, I've also succumbed to the pressures of buying Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, and Lalaloopsy books. I wouldn't exactly call them Fine Children's Literature, but I'm okay with that. If it gets my kid loving books and reading, I'll buy it.
Then my second child, Max, turned three. By the time his third birthday rolled around, it was clear that Max was diving deeper and deeper into a world of pink....and not just pink, but pink and sparkly and sweet. Max wanted to be a baker. He even knew what he would call his someday bakery: With Sprinkles On Top (how awesome is that?). And in that bakery, he wanted to bake pink cupcakes.
Imagine my delight when I heard about a new children's book character named Pinkalicious who also wants to bake pink cupcakes! Of course, it immediately earned a special spot on our bookshelf.
We settled in on our couch to a cozy afternoon of Reading New Books and happily started at the very beginning....
This is just like the beginning of The Cat in the Hat! How could this not be wonderful, fine children's literature?!
But then, the Mommy bakes the Rainy Day Cupcakes in the color that Pinkalicious has demanded ("Pink!" she said. "Pink, pink, pink!"), not even ASKING picky-eater, little brother Peter what he would like. I bet Pinkalicious knew full well that she'd get all the cupcakes to herself if she picked something her brother didn't like.
Even that, though, is missing the larger issue: You guys. In our house, our kids Do. Not. speak in such a demanding, obnoxious way. I mean, of course they DO, but we are constantly yelling and screaming at them to speak in a kind and loving way. And even after she's eaten the begged-for pink cupcake, she goes on: "More!" I cried. "More, more, more!" Like I need a story book character to teach my children how to be insisting, demanding, entitled little brats? I pulled the plug on Caillou years ago for that very reason. And I mean, it's not like I would ever model such rude, disrespectful behavior. Okay, not counting those mornings (every morning) when we're hurrying to get out of the house...."Shoes! Coats! Come on, guys...Move, move, Move!"
Anyway, back to that little brat, Pinkalicious...(and is that her given name? Probably. Have you seen her hipster parents? They're, like, super retro chic with their old-fashioned kitchen accessories, original appliances, lacy doilies, and vintage toy collection. Gag.)
So after gobbling up several Red #40-laden cupcakes, Pinky (not surprisingly) throws a spectacular tantrum, complete with stomping and tongue-sticking-outing.
How cute. Instead of serving her a spectacular consequence for her behavior, her parents serve her MORE cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes, as in plural. I don't even feel sorry for those Too Cool For School jerks.
Pinkalicious wakes up the next morning and she is PINK!
Unfortunately, this is exactly what she has always wanted.
The bath with industrial-strength soap didn't help. (Seriously, Daddy? You thought your daughter's entire body, including her hair and her tears, had turned pink because she had "played with markers?" Get a clue.)
Pinkalicious is pleased as Hawaiian Punch with her new look, but Mom wises up and figures it's time to visit the professionals.
Dr. Wink, the pediatrician, is not a bit surprised by the symptoms presented by her patient. In fact, she's seen this before and even has a clinical diagnosis and treatment plan for poor, little Pinkalicious: For the next week, Pinkalicious is to strictly avoid all pink foods (Hooray! for sticking it to the synthetic food dye industry!) and is to consume a steady diet of green food, to which Pinkalicious responds YUCK! Hooray! for reminding my own picky eaters that green food is gross! Wait....what? Seriously, Children's Book? WTF?
Well, the moral of the story will probably be that green foods keep bodies healthy and taste great! Let's keep reading, shall we, kids?
After a brief run-in with a swarm of bees and a flock of birds who take Pinkalicious for a peony, the family returns home.
Where Pinkalicious asks for another cupcake.
Oh my god, are you F-ing serious? How many goddamn times do you have to be told? Listen to your mother, your pediatrician, and common sense, would you, Pinkalicious? Honestly. It's hard to even keep reading this damn book.
But I turn the page and read what turns out to be the single most obnoxious part in the entire story.
After pretending to eat her dinner of "mushy" dark green veggies, Pinkalicious sneaks into the kitchen for a little, illicit midnight snack of...yup...another damn pink cupcake. How many ways are you going to teach my children to make bad choices, Pinkalicious? You are the kid I don't let my kids play with. Honestly, it's going to take years to undo the damage you've done in this one, stupid story.
Finally, she's dealt a consequence that makes an impression: Pinkalicious wakes up the next morning RED. (Oh, the humanity! Not RED!)
I had hoped that this would be the turning point in the story, the part where Pinkalicious sits down to a nice, delicious kale salad and extols the virtues of healthy eating and direction-following, but, alas.....
...she chokes down artichokes, gags on grapes, and burps up Brussels sprouts.
Thanks for nothing, you little bitch.
So Pinkalicious returns to "normal," and her family gathers in hugs and love...until.....
You're on your own, Peter. I'm staying out of this one.
I didn't learn any lesson from this book. In fact, reading this book made me so angry that it actually interfered with my own decision-making skills. It must have....why else would I have gone out and purchased the other FOUR books in this goddamned series?!
Come back for another ride on the Character Assassination Carousel when Jessica Azar at Herd Management takes on a character she just loves to hate.