Broke-Ass Porn: Children’s Books

I am well aware of the disturbing title of this post, but you know what?, consistency is a bitch.  And Broke-Ass Porn is all about weird and  stimulating visual material, that is always free, and not necessarily dirty. So now that’s out of the way, back to the kids!

I’ve always been fascinated by media that was designed for children but really more appreciated by adults. Whether it’s books, movies, or television, I feel like children’s entertainment has been severely watered down over the years. We used to give kids credit for understanding more abstract concepts, and recognized the fact that they had an imagination. Growing up in the 80′s was a ripe time for visually strange entertainment. I watch Fraggle Rock now and am boggled by the obvious adult references and LSD inspired set design. I mean Jim Henson alone, revolutionized most of kid’s television and films. TV aside, one of the best sources for more off-the-wall material is children’s books. One of my favorite kid’s books of all time is called the Oddkins. It was written by suspense novelist and Stephen King’s arch nemesis, Dean Koontz, in 1988. When the author of “Frankenstein: Prodigal Son”, writes a children’s book, you better believe it’s gonna be fucking bonkers. Here’s a brief synopsis I dug up online:

“When the death of their creator leaves them without protection, a band of magic living toys must attempt a dangerous journey across the city to another toyshop, while under attack from evil toys serving the Dark One”

It makes Toy Story look like a bunch of pansies. So yeah, it’s crazy. I remember being both frightened and fascinated by the illustrations. The illustrator Phil Parks worked on another kid’s book with Koontz called, Santa’s Twin.

Like a lot of people’s families, Santa had a black sheep brother called Bob who was a bit of a fuckup. The book chronicles his misadventures and scares the crap out of children in the process. Attention public schools, please put this on your second grade reading list, stat. One of my favorite internet time wasters is the blog, Curious Pages, which compiles all kinds of weird and diverse children’s book illustrations from the early 1800′s to the present. The creators, Lane Smith and Bob Shea are both children’s book authors and illustrators themselves and seem to have a bottomless knowledge of the entire medium itself. After all, Smith did illustrate the timeless, “Stinky Cheese Man”, which is pretty much the gold standard in kid’s books. As he says on his site, he doesn’t dabble in rainbows, teddy bears, and other children’s book cliches, but digs up mostly the disturbing, artful, and subversive illustrations that have turned up through the centuries. Like most foreign media, old European kid’s books are ripe with odd stories to teach the young’uns some lessons.

The German book, “Struwwelpeter” which translates to “shock-headed Peter” teaches kids the importance of safety, manners, and hygiene. Particularly about the dangers of  sucking your thumb.  A grown women I saw riding the bus and sucking her thumb should have read this book a long time ago. Then maybe she wouldn’t be suckling herself on public transportation. It was written by a overly concerned doctor back in 1845, but the lessons still remain timely. I’m gonna guess that Tim Burton was equally inspired by this book, given his scissors fetish. This is just a taste of the hundreds of books the blog delves into. So if you ever feel like getting in touch with your inner child or enjoy macabre illustrations as much as I do, I highly recommend a trip to this blog or your local library’s story corner.

Photos Courtesty of: Shannon Associates, Curious Pages

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About the author

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).