Parental Advisory: Sacred imagery and childhood memories may be desecrated in this post.
I read books to my children every night before they go to bed. Or someone does. Yes. Thank you. You can hold your applause until the end of this post. So, I’m becoming intimately familiar with the Disney princess line-up, some Winnie the Pooh and a smattering of Dr. Seuss.
And I really like reading most of these books, especially because I’m learning something new almost every time we read together. For example, did you know that it’s not easy to be a princess? Because you have to work really hard delivering hand-sewn clothes (that your entourage of seamstresses make), books and baskets of food to orphanages. But mostly because it’s really hard to walk around in that huge dress and avoid hitting your enormous mass of bows and curled hair on door frames and the ceiling of the carriage.
But there is one book that I just can’t get over: The Cat in the Hat. Is it just me or is this a story about a pedophile? Let’s review.
The book starts when a bad mother leaves her two children unattended in their house on a rainy day. Then, a large, mostly naked cat shows up and let’s himself in. He’s wearing nothing but a striped top hat and a bow tie, and he’s carrying an umbrella. Suspicious. But at least he’s not wearing a trench coat. Although given the rainy weather, this might actually make sense.
Then the Cat proceeds to balance all kinds of household items on the tip of his umbrella, including a teacup, some milk, a cake, three books, the Fish, a rake, a toy boat, a toy man and a red fan to engage the children. And they are afraid, but they say nothing and keep staring out the window. The only one who seems to have have a voice and any education about good touching and bad touching is the goldfish. But his protests are ignored. He is the lowest vertebrate in the group after all.
But here is the real kicker: Thing One and Thing Two. Small and fuzzy, they suddenly appear out of a box. Sally and the main character don’t know what to do, so they shake hands with them. And then the Things start running around the house. But the phallic symbol in the striped hat is still in charge and trying harder and harder to convince the children that they are having fun. And when their mother arrives, right after the house has been quickly put back in order and the animated genitals have left the scene, we are posed with an important question. Would you tell your mother if this happened to you?
And the answer is YES. You would tell your mother, both of them. And the police. And give the fish a job touring local schools to talk to children about speaking up when a perverted cat asks you to shake hands with his Thing.
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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.