Okay, okay. I don’t actually mean “inappropriate;” perhaps more questionable. Nothing offensive but some words that you might not want your four-year-old repeating . . . like fart and poop and bottom. Now that I think about it, four-year-olds . . . fourteen-year-olds . . . heck, forty-year-olds . . . can’t help but giggle at the mildly inappropriate themes and language of these books.
Of course, I had no problem coming up with this list and giggled quite a bit as I reread them. What does that say about me? One final note should be that three of these four books were gifts from my then-childless sister. She is also the favorite aunt who introduced my son to Captain Underpants. Now that she has children of her own, I strive to get even! So, for your adolescent snickering pleasure, I present to you four of my favorite inappropriate children’s books.
Vesuvius Poovius by Kes Gray
There is a big, smelly problem in Ancient Rome. Poo was everywhere and no one knew what to do with it. What was worse was that the word “poo” was a forbidden word so as not to embarrass the Emperor’s wife. Roman inventor Vesuvius worked for years trying to figure out a way to deal with the unmentionables, and he finally discovers the flushing system. To present it to the Emperor, Vesuvius invites him and his wife to a party where he serves such an abundance of food that they are about to explode. At which point, Vesuvius leads them to two marble thrones and Vesuvius becomes a national hero.
The theme of the story is obviously hilarious but what my kids loved to laugh at were the different terms – pongy, sugar lumps, and budgerigars — used for “poo.” I know that most kids go through that “potty talk” age and this book would definitely encourage them!
Cinderella’s Bum by Nicholas Allan
A little girl is sad because her sister won’t go swimming with her because she thinks her bum is too big and she can’t fit into her swimsuit. The younger sister goes on to describe how all the bums of the world are different – there are posh ones, short ones, big ones, and noisy ones. She continues to describe different famous bums: if Cinderella had a big bum and had lost her knickers instead of her shoe, that story would have turned out quite different; Santa has a big bum to cushion his fall; and even Queen Victoria had a big bum to help her sit on the throne for sixty years.
My son’s first preschool teacher was from the UK and always used the word “bum.” It has such a nicer ring that “butt” that we adopted it in our house. I’m curious about different words for “bum” in other countries; any readers out there care to share on this topic?
Farley Farts by Birte Muller
Farley the frog has a problem: he can’t stop farting. His family and teachers aren’t amused. He decided to “hold it in” with some disastrous consequences – his stomach fills up with so much gas that he floats up in the air like a balloon! How ever will he get down!?
You knew that there had to be a farting book. Seriously, when you are under the age of ten, is anything funnier!? It reminds me of a book by Robert Munsch, Good Families Don’t. Aside from being very silly, the author actually personifies the fart. If one could keep the class on task, it would be a great way to show a unique take on literary devices!
It’s a Book by Lane Smith
Pointing to the book that the monkey is reading, a donkey asks him what it is. The monkey says, “it’s a book.” The donkey continues to attempt to figure out what it does – do you blog with it, can it tweet, does it need a screen name? The monkey continues to get more and more aggravated when finally, the donkey starts to read it. He becomes so engrossed that the monkey leaves him with the book and heads to the library. When he returns, the donkey says that he will take care of charging it, to which the monkey responds, “It’s a book, Jackass.”
This one really hits my funny bone in a rather painful way. The only thing that is truly inappropriate for children is the final word, but the story tells so much about our modern technological generation. I know that my own children often get frustrated and annoyed with people being shocked that they are reading a book . . . remember the dentist . . . and this story reminds us of how we fell in love with reading in the first place.
So, did I shock you!? I am so wild and crazy . . . not! What other great “inappropriate” books are there out there for children that are so much fun for adults?