Doomsday books for kids are hot, reports Newsweek.
Scholastic is printing 200,000 copies of the teen-oriented “The Hunger Games,” about 24 kids in the ruins of North America forced by the government to kill each other in a “Survivor”-like contest. In Susan Pfeffer’s “Life As We Knew It,” an asteroid crashes into the moon and causes extreme weather events on Earth. Random House has already sold a million copies of its tie-ins to “Wall-E,” which stars a trash collecting robot and his cockroach buddy as the only creatures left in the decimated world.
Even read-aloud books for little kids are getting heavy, reports the Philly Inquirer. Illustrated books try to explain obesity, gay marriage, Daddy’s prison sentence, an older sibling’s drug use and, of course, the perils of global warming. New titles include:
My Beautiful Mommy, out since spring, prepares preschoolers for Mother’s nip-and-tuck.
What Is Jail, Mommy? unlocks the mysteries of the Big House, comparing prison to “big-people’s time-out.”
Why Daddy Is a Democrat (a sequel to Why Mommy Is a Democrat) lays out the values of the political left in simple sentences. Its illustrations contain a heavy helping of satire, aimed at the adults. Is that really a donkey cleaning up the, um, excrement of a rampaging elephant?
And so on, from allergies — The Peanut-Free CafÃ© — to sexual abuse — Not in Room 204 — and all else that might concern the sandbox set.
When I was a kid, I worried that Mr. McGregor would catch and kill Peter Rabbit. As a mother, I tried to skip the page where Babar’s mother is killed by the hunter. When my daughter noticed and demanded to see the missing page, she was distraught. Are 21st-century children ready to trade in Pooh for a dead polar bear? Do they wish to trade The Secret Garden for apocalypse lit?