Six Subversive Story Books

My husband loves Pete The Cat. He recognizes it is not fine literature and that the "message" is a little clunky, but he doesn't care. He wants my daughter to remain calm and happy when she confronts the unexpected, and so Pete The Cat's unflappable spirit in the face of dirty shoes pleases my husband, who is much gentler and more forgiving than I. 

I cannot stand Pete The Cat.  I find it one of the top five most annoying children's books I have ever read. I cannot stand words like "awesome" and "cool" popping up in books for people who are just learning the nuances of language. These bland, catch-all adjectives flatten out the curves and wrinkles in the brain's language center, I'm sure of it. And the catch phrase at the book's end: "It's all good." Well, blech. To make matters worse, it comes with a song. Needless to say, the "melody" is as flat as the story of poor Pete's saga of ever-changing shoes.

My daughter loves Pete The Cat; I am outnumbered. I read it to her in the bookshop with all the zest I can muster but I draw the line at checking it out of the library or buying it. Never. Not on this bookshelf. My husband thinks I am starched and a prude about books sometimes. To prove him wrong, I have compiled a small list of books that appeal to me because they contain no message, they plug directly into our ids, and they are messy and complicated stories and images. And children, these authors believe, can handle it.

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"Why should graves make people feel in vain? Somehow I can't find anything hopeless in having lived." -Zelda Fitzgerald

Hungry Little Animal


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