9 Childhood Books That Taught Us Entirely Wrong Lessons

Becca Van Sambeck
Becca is a recent Fordham grad, a former German beer hall girl, and a new Brooklyn resident who used to read the dictionary for fun as a kid. She has only gotten slightly less lame since then. She loves pugs, chicken fingers, reading and Game of Thrones.

Most of us have fond memories of snuggling up in bed while our parents read our favorite books to us. These books often featured important life lessons behind the talking animals and the endless rhymes, but looking back, those lessons might not be quite the right ones to learn.

Amelia Bedelia

Look, I love a good language joke. But you know who doesn’t? Five-year-olds, because they barely know English.

The whole point of these books is that Amelia Bedelia doesn’t understand figures of speech, and newsflash, neither does your child. So why read it to them? They’re laughing at the idea of Amelia Bedelia throwing dust all over the furniture, and sure that’s funny, until you grow up and realize how fucking horrible it would be to pay all that money for a maid just to have her ruin your house. Amelia BeDEVIL, is more like it.

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Love You Forever

This book has a mother incessantly telling her son, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Yikes. And yes, she sneaks into his room all Edward Cullen-like, to whisper that to him AT NIGHT WHILE HE SLEEPS AND IS UNAWARE. This is too much mothering. This is how Norman Bates psycho killers are born.

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Guess How Much I Love You

You know when you’re proud of an accomplishment and you tell your friends and there’s always that one bitch who immediately has to one up you? This story is the inspiration for one-uppers everywhere, as a rabbit and her baby try to win the game of “Who Loves Who More?” No one, especially your boyfriend, wants to play this game in real life. Do you actually want to be the one to win this one anyway?

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The Giving Tree

Okay, you’re supposed to read this book and be touched at the message of sacrifice for those you love, but this tree seems like a little bit of a self-important martyr. Giving is great, but it’s safe to say there’s a line. You should not be taught at a young age that it’s a great idea to give everything you own just for some stupid boy’s attention. If someone can’t appreciate you, fuck him. He can find his own damn apples.

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The Cat In The Hat

I don’t think I even have to explain this one. A giant talking cat in a striped hat randomly shows up to ruin two kids’ day. The cat is not charming; he is exhausting. Kids should not be taught that they have to put up with obnoxious strangers.

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The Boxcar Children

This story made me reaaaallly want to be homeless and live on a train. Sooo, maybe don’t have a children’s book glamorize homelessness?

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I relate to this caterpillar way too much. In the book he eats apples, he eats chocolate cake, he eats salami, he eats a pickle. He’s always hungry! I, too, am always hungry. The difference is the caterpillar emerges more beautiful than before after gorging himself into a cocoon and most of us do not get this luxury. Damn you, hungry caterpillar.

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Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

We’ve all bad days. But Alexander was a little bit of a jerk, no? He’s all pissed because he doesn’t get a window seat on the bus and his teacher says he sings too loudly — Alexander, that is not a bad day. A bad day is when your credit card gets declined after you try to buy some french fries to comfort yourself after you see an Instagram of your ex with his new girlfriend. Let’s have some chill. Children’s books don’t need to be realistic. I mean, most of them feature a talking animal. So maybe don’t give your kid a book all about being negative?

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If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

If I gave a mouse a cookie and he looked at me and asked for milk, yes, I would do it. The mouse just talked, who knows what else it’s capable of?! Of course, I’ll answer its every whim. However, I’m going to assume this kid knew the mouse was capable of talking and he should’ve told the mouse to fuck off after its millionth demand. Children need to learn how to say no, not be a total pushover.

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