Picture Books: Whimsical Trifles or Calls to Chaos?

Humorist and new father, Jacob Lambert discovers the ugly truth behind the classic childrens books we thought we loved and wonders what they are really teaching our kids.

Take, for example, Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina:

Caps For Sale tells the story of a Russian peddler whose entire stock of pageboy caps is stolen by a troop of insouciant monkeys. The man shakes his fists, making impotent demands (“You must give me back my caps!”) as the thieves grin down from their tree, taunting his frantic need. (“Tsz, tsz, tsz!”) They seem to know that they control him, can gut him as cleanly as Maggiorani in The Bicycle Thief. Ultimately, however, they lose their nerve and fling down the caps—and while this brings the incident to a close, it’s where the real trouble begins. The peddler balances his wares upon his head and returns to town, eager to unload caps that were just worn by monkeys. The steady spread of head lice and untold ape-mites throughout his drab little village seems a given: once again, craven business interests trump the health of unwitting consumers. He may have reclaimed his caps, but the peddler has lost his integrity—with his own neighbors paying a tragic price.

Interestingly, it’s now widely believed that Outbreak, the 1995 Dustin Hoffman Ebola thriller, was at least partially inspired by Caps For Sale.

Link - via schoollibraryjournal

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by timcanny.

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Further proof that you an over-analyze ANYTHING and ruin it for future generations if you look hard enough.
Reminds me of the commercial I saw that included a woman talking about how Toy Story was really an allegory for a a young man's (Andy's) sexual discovery. My soul died a little that day.
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Heh- This was one of my daughter's favorite stories when she was about 1-2 years old. She used to act out the monkey parts with me (shaking her fist, stamping her feet, etc) while we read. Little did I know how subversive it really is.
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