7 Wildly Inappropriate Unintentional Morals From Kid’s Books

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4. Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney.

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Moral: Go f**k yourself, ecology.

Miss Rumphius is one of my favorite books from my childhood, and I bought it for the kids when I was pregnant because I loved it so much. Then I read it again and realized it’s the story of a woman who, in order to bring beautiful to the world, dumps fistfuls of an invasive flower species all over her town. Sorry about the crash in the bumblebee and native bird population everyone, but hey, isn’t the field behind the church pretty now?

5. The Popcorn Dragon, by Jane Thayer.

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Moral: If there’s anything special about you, you must hide it away.

Dexter the young dragon learns how to blow smoke, and starts acting like a big smarmy show-off around the other animals who can’t do such tricks. He makes it up to them by making popcorn for them all with his firey-hot dragon breath, but then when he again snorts smoke in excitement rather than in bragging, he gets super-embarrassed and begs their forgiveness. And the book makes it seem like this is the right thing to do. Surely we can teach our kids that there’s a happy medium between being a jerky braggart, or pretending that there’s nothing unique or special about you so that you can blend in with the crowd?

6. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

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Moral: If you really love someone, you’ll let them destroy you to make themselves happy.

You can this book a story of unconditional love if you want. I’m going to call it a seriously unhealthy and literally destructive relationship. Kids, you can love him without letting him cut you to pieces and then walk. Remember that. Please.

7. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff.

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Moral: It’s fun to feed vermin.

Maybe I’m biased by the years I spent working with, and being bitten/urinated on by, mice in a laboratory situation. But my first reaction to seeing a mouse is not, “I’d like to share my cookies with that and maybe draw some pictures together!” It’s, “KILL IT WITH FIRE.” (I don’t share my cookies with anyone, let alone a gross rodent.)

(Feature image: Jevtic / iStock / Getty)

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