“Some animal mothers? Eat. Their. Young,” I told Adriana one day last week when she was being obnoxious about something.
“Lucky for me you’re a vegetarian,” she snarked right back.*
So yesterday when I was browsing the children’s section at Books Inc., I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Lyra was getting antsy at that point (and starting to whine for a Thomas board book that I didn’t even have to glance at to know I wouldn’t like), so I bought it without reading it. Adriana found it in my room just before her bedtime, so I got into bed with her and read it.
Immediately I recognized the artwork from the author’s cartoons in The New Yorker. Henry and Eve are whiny children who disregard their father’s warning that monsters eat small children, and then are abducted by indecisive monster gourmands who spend the book debating the best way to eat the children. The drawings are simple and amusing, and it’s full of lines I am sure to be annoying the kids with. I mean, I don’t think I’ll be able to resist suggesting “Perhaps a whiny-child vindaloo” next time we are wondering what we should make for dinner. Adriana and I both giggled throughout the story.
The humor in the book is definitely aimed at adults, but it’s in the way there are jokes in animated films that are for the grown ups that go right over the kids’ heads, rather than something akin to Go The Fuck To Sleep. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that book. In fact, I found it quite amusing, especially the audiobook version read by Samuel L. Jackson). I wouldn’t share Monsters Eat Whiny Children with some of Adriana’s friends. Adriana, though, loves all things scary, and can handle the idea of monsters eating children. On the other hand, I also picked up a copy of Outside Over There. Perhaps my girls will start to take these books as warnings.
*I love this kid so much.