Monday, August 25, 2014

You Can't Make Me: Funny, Subversive Picture Books

Any toddler or preschooler who hasn't gotten his or her way can be creatively subversive and funny, too, if you're not on the receiving end.

Maybe you do need a bath.
Mo Willems' picture books featuring the Pigeon are both hilarious and true: hilarious because the pigeon is subversive by nature, and true because he's basically an intelligent, strong-willed preschooler. The Pigeon Needs a Bath!, one of Mo Willems' newer ones, has snarky flies (even they think the Pigeon reeks), zesty Pigeon diatribes and excuses, and a satisfying ending.

Meet the next level of the will to power. Achilles, a young crocodile, would really like to eat a child. We know that this is a bad idea, but he sticks to it anyways.

Achilles really is pretty cute.
His parents bring him all kinds of edible treats, but his ingratitude grows, as does his desire to eat a child. Sure enough, Achilles does encounter a child. Will we be grossed out? Find out in Sylviane Donnio's I'd Really Like to Eat a Child. (Yes, it's completely appropriate. Duh.)

Ever been interrupted by a young child? Repeatedly? You'll appreciate Peter Catalanotto's Ivan the Terrier in which Ivan repeatedly interrupts the narrator's fairy tale with his hyperactive barking.

Ivan the Terrier by Peter Catalanotto
Exhausted, the poor narrator keeps switching to a different tale, only to get interrupted again by barking. But Ivan, like a young child, will get tired (eventually). Young children will delight in finding Ivan in pictures where he is barely visible.

That appliance looks unreliable!
Fix this Mess by Tedd Arnold begins with my own dream come true: a Remote Operating Basic Utility Gizmo ("cleans your house!" according to the box) -- R.O.B.U.G, super cute and looks portable. Looks are deceptive. Every time ROBUG's owner asks him to "fix this mess," ROBUG only makes the mess worse, while relocating the mess to a different location in the house. Sounds exactly like someone I know.

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