Adult Children’s Books?

Do you like to read children’s books? What a silly question! Most people I know enjoy a good children’s book every now and again…whether that be a ‘classic’ such as Winnie the Pooh or Dr. Seuss, a new picture book about animals, or something completely different, children’s books often hold a piece of our childhoods. When we read these books, even ones we’ve never before read, it unlocks a bit of our inner child and we find pieces of what we didn’t ever know was missing.

You know what I’ve noticed about children’s books lately? They don’t contain as many references aimed at ‘adults’ as their corresponding movies do. Movies aimed at the 0-10 year old market often include soundtracks, artwork hanging on the walls, and little sarcastic jokes that are meant for the parents and older siblings being forced to watch these things. The books though, they don’t seem to have that same balance in them.

So here’s an idea…let’s tweak it a little! I’m not saying we should go as far as the movies go (some of them are to the point where I don’t let my toddler watch again!) but a little addition here and there would give the parents something while keeping the book clean. And yes, I do realize that there are a lot of books with adults who reference different eras…they also usually get made fun of by the kids.

I’m looking for honest to goodness exchange of ideas and great inter-generational moments for both my characters, and the people reading the story. Hopefully, my 9 year old adventure seeker’s story will be read out loud and the parents will get a little kick out of a line here or there. Take a look at a few lines I’ve written (below) and see what you think…and PLEASE let me know of any other children’s books that fit the bill! My daughter only has a hundred or so books, we definitely need more 😉

Here is a segment from my current WIP –

Grandpa Punk has been teaching Paulonious Punk (grandson) to ride a unicycle while Paulonious’s best friend, John, gets used to riding an antique two wheeled bicycle…both with large wheels and ‘ape hanger’ handles. 

“Put your helmets on boys,” he plopped his fedora shaped helmet on with a flourish and a grin, “It’s time to ride!” 

So they pedaled their way out of the fort and down the street, following Grandpa as he hummed some old song by Foghat (what a weird name!) and Grandma yelled after them to remember supper in an hour!

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4 thoughts on “Adult Children’s Books?

    • I read my almost-three year old a lot of old German stories and enjoy them, though I think they must lose something in translation because they sound much more ferocious in their home language (my Dad remembers just enough from his high school class to tell us Godilocks and the 3 Bears in German and we love it!)
      Maybe this is one of those American/Canadian things where we decided that if teenage books get a lot of sex and vampires, kids books can’t have any thing resembling content for the adult reader?

      • Oh in translations they sometimes go overboard with the adaptation and editing… I read “Secret Garden” and never in English (as at the time I read no English) my mom read it in German and English (parallel reading to enrich her vocabulary and learn the language) and well turns out the German copy was missing some very important bits, even a whole chapter or two. Just because they weren’t suitable for a German audience at the time of translation, or something like that.
        I always have the feeling that children’s books are full of messages for adult readers, but we have to read between the lines.
        According to Stefan Zweig, fairy tales are meant to be read twice or more in a life, as a child and later with the full conscience of an adult…
        And well the collection by the Grimm brothers, isn’T always child friendly 🙂 nore are the Hans-Christian Andersen tales, the little mermaid does end badly after all…

      • Last year I taught 5th grade writing and science. As an introduction to one of our writing units, we discussed the fact that there are 9 types of Folk Tales; including Fables, Tall Tales, Fairy Tales, etc.

        I explained to the students that the original fairy tales were meant as cautionary tales to keep children and the fanciful in line. Then, as life began to get ‘better’ fairy tales evolved into the happy endings we know now.
        They were so intrigued that several researched and would bring me things to discuss in class for the rest of the year…all 7 months we had left.

        But one girl went home, got mad at her baby sister, and apparently calmly walked over while they were watching the Little Mermaid…and said “did you know that the real ending…”

        Her mom was so livid that she cornered me at day care and then called the school to demand access to my lesson plans because I was teaching about DISNEY instead of writing and science. LOL

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