25 Oct 2017


Not so much subliminal as, err, unfortunate 

but I digress ....

Dogging and side-boobs – are children’s books really bulging with filth?

With a headline that read like this how could Mr T resist sending me a link to this article by Stephanie Merrit?

... Note the group of men seemingly gathering in the bushes

... Now note the elderly lady elderly apparently startled by what she sees in the bushes

An article that came about when someone came across the above illustrations in a book that forms part of the highly popular Biff, Chip and Kipper series as created by educational experts BUT all is not as it as first seems for as the Open University Press reassures parents here the original tweet fails to show that there are in fact pages in between the two that are featured. 

Hmm! Is it that I'm totally unobservant or just too grown up? 

As a girl I loved the Folks Of The Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton and not once can I remember my (or anyone else I knew come to that) sniggering about the name Fanny (which for my US friends is slang for a woman's genitals here in the UK) which later got changed to Frannie.

As always your thoughts are welcome.


Karen Alderman said...

I don't know how much is intentional - I notice a lot more adult jokes in animated movies now - but so much of it goes right over kids heads and maybe adults are kind of looking for it now. And so much of the outrage is based on out of context observations.

But I know when I pass my books down to my nieces and nephews, I need to look a little more closely a things before doing so. What seems fine to me might not be age appropriate for them.

I actually have a few mini reviews going up Friday and several children's books I read and a couple are kind of on the line there as to whether I would let a very young child read them. I think, personally, I would but with them so we could discuss.

For What It's Worth

LL Cool Joe said...

On the first photo I'm a little confused, because it it isn't pee (or something else, that I won't mention) then what is it meant to be?

Tracy Terry said...

It's not just children's heads that these jokes go over Karen. It often takes me a minute ... Or two ... To catch on.

I'm thinking maybe glitter, LL Cool Joe.

Suko said...

Your post made me laugh as I pondered your question. Most books for children are pretty innocent. I don't think "the filth" is intentional.

Brian Joseph said...

This is a very amusing post. Like many things in life I suspect that there are a fair number of risqué jokes hidden in childrens books but also a fair number of made up stories.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I remember seeing questionable scenes in Where's Waldo and those were more fun to find than Waldo. LOL I think sometimes things like this are inside jokes between the illustrators and others around them.

Lauren said...

I think most of these things really aren't noticed by kids. I can't remember seeing anything like this in a picture book growing up. I know that when I got older, I heard about all the things said or shown in kid's cartoons that I never caught onto then.


Barbara Fisher said...

I agree with Lauren. Kids probably wouldn't notice it's adults who get into a flap about these things.

Kelly said...

I'm with all the others in that I think most of this goes right over the kids' heads. I don't always even notice stuff. But, Santa? There's no way that can be explained as anything other than writing his name in the snow with pee! (and speaking of bodily functions.... it's poop or poo....NOT Pooh!)

Funny to mention Waldo - I'm just about to work a beach scene puzzle. I'll have to check it closely!

Gina R said...

Isn't it funny (or perhaps not) how many things we read into more than they were intended? I mean, if we really look at almost any work, there's something that can be read as innuendo, or vaguely veiled, regardless of the type of work, intended audience, or author's intent. I guess I'm (for the most part) either too adult or too focused on the work itself to be bothered with that sort of word play unless it is in excess.

Anonymous said...

A delightful post and I agree
with several of the others that
most likely kids would not notice.

DMS said...

Definitely an interesting post. Amazing the things that go over my head. I even missed Merry Christmas at first- but then I saw it. I haven't noticed this in most picture books- but I am sure artists put in little things all the time that I miss.

The Bookworm said...

So much subliminal messages in books and cartoons as well, it goes over the childrens heads but it's still there.

Literary Feline said...

Whenever I see the name Fanny, I am taken back to elementary school when a poor girl named Fanny was made fun of all the time because of her name. Her real name was Frances, but her nickname was Fanny. It didn't help that she was the tallest girl in the class either, which only added to the teasing. She was a rather mean girl as a result--who can blame her?