I love books, and I want to share that love of books with the kids that come to live with me in foster care. At night, once they are tucked into bed, I sit in the hallway and read to them. I like to choose children’s classic because I feel it’s unlikely they’ll hear them any other way.
I’ve read Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh. Both have a lovely cadence to them, and the authors use the word ‘presently’ a lot. I ADORE the word ‘presently.’ I have no idea why.
So next I try Peter Pan. I was super excited to find Peter in Kensington Garden and Peter and Wendy free on Amazon. Yeah, except not. These are creepy ass books, with bullying, Peter threatening to hurt or kill other children, and fairies coming back from an orgy! AN ORGY!!!!!
I mean, sure I change the racial slurs, which I expect from books of that time period. I do leave in gay and queer because they mean happy and odd, but racial slurs and orgy, yeah not so much. I stopped reading it.
So then I try Alice in Wonderland. Was Lewis Carrol on opium? Or did he have some kind of brain damage? So creepy, I almost stopped reading it, but that one I did finish.
Currently I’m reading The Wizard of Oz, which is so much more violent than the movie! The Tin Woodman cuts off a cat’s head because he feels bad for the mouse it’s chasing. Um, okay, that’s a bit extra special, especially when the cat’s heads rolls across the ground.
OMG, just read the part where they kill 120 creatures the Wicked Witch sends at them!
Also in the book the Wizard wants Dorothy to KILL the Witch of the West. In the movie she just has to get the witches broom, but in the book the all-powerful wizard tells a little girl (in the movie she’s older) to murder a person—yes she’s a wicked witch but still—and then he will send her home.
What the hell was wrong with these authors??? Were these not supposed to be children’s stories? I am afraid to try any other supposed “children’s classics’.
Do you change words when you read older books out loud? Have any children’s books scarred you for life?