"Children's Scary Tales" Header

CHILDREN'S BOOKS have had a benign reputation since the days of Aesop, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. These days, we've become so accustomed to books that are designed to reinforce self-esteem, defeat negative self-image issues, celebrate diversity, that we've forgotten that children's books were originally intended to scare the little dickens into behaving. Also, to instruct the darlings how dangerous the world can be.

I came across these books at the bottom of a box of newspapers I won at an auction. Here's an example on the right. It's a typical 1920s knockoff of "Peter Rabbit" only without the charm, so you won't see any more of the story. The title is what really drew my attention.

Kinda lays it out in plain sight, doesn't it?

The author clearly knew his market. He also wrote, "The Little Wise Chicken That Knew It All."

The box also contained examples of books that were designed more to sell you things than to entertain the children. Somehow, they managed to accomplish both goals badly.

Next slide, please.

Conchy by James Childress