As most parents, we have a nightly ritual of reading a few books to our kids before bed. This used to be a fairly simple exercise. We'd select a few board books (which are CRUCIAL for very young children, all you newbie parents out there...we lost several unfortunate paper books to slobber, teething, and in general ingestion), sit in the rocking chair with our child, and take them to magical lands of colors and numbers and cuddly animals.
As the girls have gotten older, it's gotten a bit more involved to read books to them at night.
You see, we made a mistake several years back. We had each read some of these books so many times that we had the pages memorized verbatum. We were so bored with reading these much loved books that we just couldn't take it any more. Something had to change. We were about to lose our minds if we had to read Goodnight Moon one more time. It was going to be more like, "Goonight Lunatic".
Here was our mistake: we began looking at the pictures on the pages and making up our own stories to go with them. We come up with our own narratives for each page, and depending on the talent of the illustrator, have quite a good time. You'd be surprised upon closer inspection the amount of creative license you can take with even an ordinary looking children's book. We've told some whoppers of stories. Peter Rabbit was never so exciting.
It becomes kind of a challenge. Who can make up the most outrageous story to go with the pictures? We judge our success by the girls' racous laughter. And sadly, we have discovered that the more crude bathroom humor we use, the funnier they think it is. Daddy is almost always the winner here.
We own a couple of children's books that cause us to take pause to think, however. For instance, who decided a great title for their children's book would be, "Stranger in the Woods?"
Seriously. Let's terrify all our young children so they'll never in a million years be willing to take a family hike or certainly never camp outdoors. Strangers!!??
But there is one children's book in our possession which we could not think of anything to add. The author did such a tremendous job of making up an outrageous story to go along with the pictures that for us to attempt to add to it would just detract from the original.
I'm fairly certain this book was written by a seriously disturbed person. Kids everywhere have likely been traumatized.
I have no idea how we came into possession of this book. No idea where it came from or even how long we've had it. It's one of those things that just kind of showed up. Appeared out of thin air and claimed our family as its own. Anyway, we now own the single most outrageous children's book ever written.
Allow me to share it with you now (so you can enjoy reading it with your own little darlings).
"Don't Call Me Little Bunny".
Looks harmless enough, right?
Soft, cute little cuddly baby bunny rabbit on the front cover. His giant ears make him even cuter. He has a little teardrop on his cheek, making you feel empathy for him immediately. Poor little bunny!
The cuddly little rabbit wastes no time showing his darker side. On page 10, our cute hero accepts candy from a mama rabbit. He apparently has a big problem with being called "little bunny", so he throws the candy on the ground and stomps on it, then throws snowballs at the mama rabbit's head.
Not so bad, right? Harmless. Surely it will have a good lesson that the bunny learns about naughty behavior.
Turn the page. Our little hero has turned to a life of crime. He robs a bank, holding up the people inside with a bow and arrow. An actual line from the book says, "He only wanted to strike fear in the hearts of people and rabbits".
Wait a minute. What?
Now our bunny is running for his life. He snow skis thru the mountains, trying to escape the police who are in hot pursuit, and who just happen to be extremely scary looking wolves.
Our little bunny is caught. Thrown into prison. Begins to cry.
Luckily, there is another bunny prisoner in his cell. They trade stories and we discover that the other bunny landed himself in prison because he killed a hunter.
What kind of cuddly bunnies ARE these, anyway? I pause to check the countenance of my 3-yr-old as I read.
The two bunnies form a plan to break out of that joint and be free once again.
This is exactly what they do, by digging an underground tunnel.
The bunnies are now fugitives from the law. They decide to go live with one of their grandpas, who apparently has no problem hiding fugitives.
The story ends with the little bunnies reading a newspaper all about their escape. It is assumed that they live together happily for the rest of their days, running from the law, laughing at justice.
A bank heist? A murder? What the heck?
Night, night, sweetie. Mommy loves you. Tomorrow we'll read all about vampires and werewolves.