Parenthood can be gruelling. There’s the mundaneness of feeding, clothing, getting your children to sleep, re-reading the same book over and over! So, sometimes you need a laugh. If you’ve read Where the Wild Things Are or Goodnight Moon time and time again, sung ‘hey diddle diddle’ a thousand times, or just thrown away a good meal one time too many – these spoof children’s books are for you. (Warning: this blog contains profanities)
Where the Wild Mums Are by Katie Blackburn and Sholto Walker
Publishing 19 February 2015, and a sweet homage to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, the Wild Mums are a riotous bunch. Mimicking Sendak’s original, even from the palm tree allusion in the endpapers, Walker and Blackburn have done a terrific job. Whereas Max in Where the Wild Things Are makes mischief, the mum in Where the Wild Mums Are goes on strike. She looks worn out, and after being insulted, stomps upstairs to have a bath in much the same way as Max is sent to bed. As the forest grows in Max’s room at night, so during Mum’s luxurious bubble bath, the walls melt away and she’s transported to where the Wild Mums are. Much as the wild things go crazy, so do the mums, and there’s a wonderful freedom and mania in the illustrations of the mums’ dancing. The best moment in the book though is when reality dawns:
“For the Queen of the Wild Mums suddenly felt a little bit tired and emotional and wished she were with those she loved more than anything in the world.”
It’s a wonderful parody of:
“And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”
but also works on its own as the call of a mother’s conscience. Of course on her return home there isn’t supper waiting, but a cup of tea! What could be more perfect than that? Not only will you be giving yourself a good laugh, but 10p from every book will be donated to the charity Women and Children First. See www.womenandchildrenfirst.org.uk
Goodnight ipad by Ann Droyd
In a similar parody to the Wild Mums, this takes on Goodnight Moon and updates it hilariously for the 21st century. Goodnight Moon is mainly about the atmosphere created in the room by all the different old-fashioned childhood memorabilia from bears and chairs to mittens and kittens, the little house and the little mouse, and of course the moon outside, as gradually everything is wished goodnight and the light fades in the room. Goodnight ipad does the same thing – except the objects are up-to-date, loud and brash:
“There were three little Nooks
With ten thousand books
And a huge LCD
With Bose 5.1
Six remotes, and 3-D”
The lady in the room who is trying to persuade the children to sleep has to wrestle the ipad out of the child’s hands, and throws all the gadgets out the window in an attempt to have peace:
And Netflix streams
And glowing screens”
The horror on the faces of the rabbit-like creatures as their gadgets are discarded is fabulous, as are the small details in the illustrations such as the extension plug leads. Great fun for anyone who knows the original and wants some respite from the modern world.
You have to F***** Eat by Adam Masbach, illustrated by Owen Brozman
The author of Go the F*** to Sleep has done it again, but this time with the most frustrating of topics – getting your child to eat. If you’re really fed up with meal time in your house and need a good scream and cursing session, then this is the book for you. Adam Masbach compares the human child before him who won’t eat – even his favourite foods – to animals who will eat anything that’s put in front of them:
“The bunnies are munching on carrots,
The lambs nibble grasses and bleat
I know you’re too hungry to reason with but
You have to fucking eat.”
The juxtaposition of the cute animals and the grumpy child is a great leaping off point, but my favourite page is the one with the lunchbox returned home full:
“How was school, hon? Whoa, your lunch box is full.
How are you not passed out in the street?
How is it you’re smart? How the hell are you growing
When you basically don’t fucking eat?”
The author also deals with taking children to restaurants, parents eating leftovers, and the need for alcohol at the end of the day. The last page is priceless – any parent struggling with the basics of child rearing would agree.
This Little Piggy Went to Prada: Nursery Rhymes for the Blahnik Brigade by Amy Allen, illustrated by Eun-Kyung Kang
Lastly, this hilarious collection is a must-have for any ‘yummy mummy’. It contains 21 revamped designer name nursery rhymes, contained within a beautiful pink and velvety cover. It’ll cheer up any new mum into designer clothes:
“Hey diddle diddle,
The skirt fits my middle
Mummy is over the moon
“To see her size halved…
She’ll be back in Armani soon!””
I wish I could quote them all, but I need to leave the surprise for you. It even has the original rhymes in the back for those who don’t know them or need reminding (new to parenthood maybe). Another blessing is that 10 per cent of the profit goes to the charity Save the Children.
Where the Wild Mums Are was kindly sent to me for review by Faber & Faber Publishing