1. Kim
    February 16, 2015 @ 9:38 am

    As far as I know about Lewis Carroll, he was not on drugs, although opium was common at the time. He began telling stories at a young age and kept doing it as an adult. He told the story of Alice to his friend’s daughter (Alice) and she persuaded him to write it down and turn it into a book. I think he just had an incredible imagination.

    I sometimes censor books when I read aloud to children. It depends on the subject matter and the age of the kids.

    I remember being freaked out by the original Little Mermaid when she got her legs and it felt like she was walking on knives. I’ve never quite gotten over that image!


    • Alica McKenna Johnson
      February 19, 2015 @ 8:08 pm

      Yes, I’ve avoided the original fairy tales, SO dark and creepy I can’t imagine they were actually intended for kids.


  2. Jill
    February 16, 2015 @ 10:01 am

    Little Black Sambo. Thankfully it has been rewritten without all the racism, but still there are some creepy parts.


  3. Marlene Dotterer
    February 16, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

    Yeah, those old stories/fairy tales/songs… nothing innocent about them.I suspect that children were not coddled as much back in the day.Think about “Rock-a-bye Baby.” That bit about the cradle falling? Not so comforting.

    A favorite book when my kids were little was “The Crows of Pear Blossom” by Alistair Crowley. It was written in the 1940s and is about a crow mother whose eggs keep getting eaten by a snake. Eventually, Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl “hatch a plan” (hee) to put clay eggs in the nest. The snake eats them and dies a horrible, painful death, strung up between branches in the tree. The last line is classic, although I’ll have to paraphrase as I don’t remember it exactly: “…Mrs. Crow successfully hatched out 17 batches of eggs and used him as a clothesline to hang the children’s diapers.”

    My kids loved it. In fact, one of my daughters has the book and reads it to her children. I bet, though, that the story would be too violent to ever get published today.


    • Alica McKenna Johnson
      February 19, 2015 @ 8:07 pm

      OMG that’s great, one of my favorite stories as a child was The Little Match Girl, talk about dark!!! I’d forgotten all about that. Huummm maybe it is okay for the kids


  4. Stephanie Beavers
    February 16, 2015 @ 8:53 pm

    A LOT of old fairy tales are like that. The older the fairy tale, the more likely. Don’t search the originals of Red Riding Hood or its ilk. It’s nasty stuff. Especially steer clear of any “Grimm” tales.

    It’s actually an interesting study, the evolution of children’s literature, but it’s definitely not child-appropriate by our standards today. Then again, who says our standards are really better today?


    • Alica McKenna Johnson
      February 19, 2015 @ 8:06 pm

      True, it’s odd they see so much adult things out fo context, but then the books for kids are sometimes so dumbed down or PG that the kids can’t relate to them.


  5. Vicky Loebel
    February 17, 2015 @ 10:00 am

    History Chicks has a nice podcast on Frank L. Baum who was apparently an absolute pied pipe of children who loved his stories. I think it was like telling your kids “I’m going to gobble you up” and chasing them around the house. The audience understood it was all in fun.


  6. heathermama
    February 17, 2015 @ 10:02 am

    i remember reading peter pan for the first time… shocking!


  7. Ety Mology
    February 20, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

    The “orgy” example isn’t what you think! http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/orgy gives the older meanings – an energetic party or religious ritual, possibly involving excessive drinking, but not sex. Books written before approximately the 1950s use ‘orgy’ to mean a lively party. It can be jarring the first few times you see it used that way, though!


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