Better Children's Book Endings

You don't have to be on this blog long to know that I have two children: Hannah (2) and Ethan (9 months). Cue excuse for cute photos... 

You also don't have to be here long to see that I enjoy reading. If you were to put two and two together you might assume, and rightly so, that I read to my children. In so doing I have been exposed to more children's books in the last year than I can remember from my entire life before that time (Despite being a an ESL Kindergarten teacher for two years!).  For the most part, this is great fun. But, if I could, there is one thing I would change: endings. 

I find the end of many children's books to be unrealistic. They are toned down in the same way that Disney offers toned down versions of Grimm Brothers fairy tales. So, without further ado, let me present a few children's books as I would end them (and I am only half joking :) 

"The Little Engine that Could"

This story is famous. 'I think I can, I think I can...' and all that.

If I were to end this story, you would turn the page after 'I think I can...' to find
a stalled out little engine that didn't quite make it. The text would read as follows:
"Sadly, the little engine couldn't make it up the hill. He tried, but in the end 'I think I can' is just not enough."

"Where is the Green Sheep?"

In this story the reader is lead through a rhyming series of strange and wonderful sheep (circus sheep, surfing sheep, red sheep, blue sheep, etc.), but after each four sheep the question is asked: "But where is the green sheep?" Finally, on the last page, we find the green sheep "fast asleep" behind a bush.

In my book you would turn the last page and find a big ! symbol and the word "Caution" in red. The text would read as follows:
"If this were real life you would have found an advertisement here trying to sell you the perfect product to make/find a 'green sheep.' Beware people who take you on wonderful journeys seeking items which do not exist; they are probably trying to take advantage of you.

Children's Bible Stories (Girls Edition)

I couldn't find a picture of this one, but it is a collection of bible stories with pictures, designed to be read to children (complete with actions and such). Some of them are quite ridiculous (the conclusion to Joseph and his New Jacket is 'God created your parents to give you things'). However, what really bothered me was when you get to the end of the Jesus stories. We start with birth, baptism, some other stories, and then we get the resurrection.

If I were writing it, the story would definitely include the cross, if nothing else! Seriously, how can you tell the Christian story without the cross? How can you have "JESUS IS ALIVE!" as your conclusion when you never said anything about Him dying? In the words of Walter Wangerin "And even for the faithful the cross must always be first, because the resurrection is only as real (both in history and in our hearts) as the death is real." (Reliving the Passion, pg. 82). 

Yes, I will be reading proper fairy tales to our children. No, I will not be toning down biblical stories for them.


Andrew S. said...

This is my favorite version of The Little Engine that Could from Major Payne:


Amanda Flagg said...

I completely agree that you should not tone down bible stories and especially tell them the story of the cross.

I think a lot of parents shield their children from things that are most important. Everyday life events/things should be introduced to children as early as possible so they can learn to understand and to deal with them. I never learned about death when I was a child and had a really difficult time with it when someone dear to me left.

Another thing I feel children should be exposed to is sex. I know a lot of parents disagree, but even many teens are uneducated and unprepared. Without the proper knowledge, you have early pregnancies and a great deal of disease. Children know that boys and girls are different, but I don't see harm in a little extra knowledge :)

Amanda Flagg said...

PS - your kids are too cute.

Andrew said...

Thanks :)

kering said...

Robert Munsch???? :P One of my favourite children's books is How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.. I also like Lost and Found by him :D I LOVE CHILDREN'S BOOKS :D

Dale Blankenaar said...

Never write children's books. Ever.