Worst Childrens’ Books

January 26, 2012


Moderate publicity is being given to the American Library Association’s announcement of the Youth Media Awards (highlighting the best books, videos or audiobooks for children).  Among them, the Newberry Award went to Jack Gantos’ Dead End In Norvelt, and The Caldecott Medal (for picture books) went to A Ball For Daisy about a dog who loses her ball.

Oddly, considerably less attention has been given to the American Library Association’s Youth Media Scowls for the very worst in children’s entertainment.  Among them:

Also, a surprising number of things get thrown in the chipper that aren't really "What's"

What Can We Throw In The Wood-Chipper? (picture book, ages 5-9):  A lot, apparently.  A lot.

Everybody Poops (Pop-up version) Despite the impressive detailing in the illustrations, and commitment to putting the reader “in the scene,” this one left readers nauseous and deliberately constipated.

Call of Duty: Sesame Street (interactive video game) Grover didn’t deserve that.

Life Is Meaningless, Followed By Inevitable Death. (choose-your-own-adventure book). Excerpt:”If you’d like to flee society, turn to page 19.  If you’d like to compromise your dreams and take an unfulfilling job, turn to page 78. If you’d like to ponder your own irrelevance, turn to page 50.”

Book 5 in the Marla & Melissa: Junior Detectives! series: Creepy Timmy and the Case of the Missing Neighborhood Pets. (Series – mystery) An unexpected turn after the other books like The Candy-Bar Thief and The Case of the Lonely Woman Who Needed A Friend.

"And suddenly the guy, the hero guy, came upon a chainsaw that had been blessed by some girl who's a goddess so she's that kind of non-sexual sexy, and he was all like, 'Sweet.'"

The final book in the Wizards of the Cloud Plane trilogy: Rise of The Guy Who’s Destined to, You Know, Wield The Big, Magic Whatever.  Orb.  Maybe An Enchanted Chainsaw Or A Shotgun Or Something. (Series – fantasy) Author TJ Melindas created an intricate, beautiful fantasy world in the first two books, but inspiration seemed to leave her in the final installment.  Also, the “enchanted chainsaw” battle scenes are truly horrifying.

Things That Crawl On You While You Sleep! (science & discovery) Excerpt: “Hey kids!  Did you know that every night you eat more kinds of spiders in your sleep than you probably even knew existed?  Say, Ahhhh-mazing!” (p. 32)

Lady Constanza’s Forbidden Passion (picture book, ages 3-6). Publishers are saying there may have been a mix-up in the classification of this book.  It would also explain the poor reception the same publisher’s new romance novel What Shall We Get Mr. Puppy For His Birthday? has received.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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21 Comments on “Worst Childrens’ Books”

  1. WSW Says:

    If memory serves, after the raging success of “Everybody Poops,” the author followed up with a gem called “The Holes in Your Nose.” Mercifully, our child was a quick study and so by that point we had progressed beyond the bodily functions stage of her education, but one wonders what may have been added to the oeuvre in the years since. “Rainy Day Projects with Ear Wax,” “No Sweat! That Enema’s just a Bath for your Bum”? The mind boggles.


  2. A Broad at Home Says:

    I love the idea of commanding children to contemplate their own irrelevance at such a ripe young age. Then maybe they’ll finally understand, “It doesn’t take a society to change the world, only one person. And that person is definitely not you.” Or however that saying goes.


  3. madtante Says:

    This is a particularly pleasing bit of writing, yo.


  4. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    What about “Fun with household Chemicals”, maybe “Electricity – Friend or Foe” and lets not forget “Attracting and Raising Your Own Racoon Family Under the Patio” (Author – my son).


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Hmmmm… I may have a post in the near future titled “Books Kids Would Write.” If so, I thought if it long ago and am definitely not pillaging your comments for a post idea. Definitely not.


  5. H.E. ELLIS Says:

    This list gives me hope for my children’s novel, UNCLE CHESTER AND HIS MAGICAL LAP.


  6. thesinglecell Says:

    I could get behind “You Won’t Do That Again, Will You?” A book discussing all the ways a kid’s exploration could get them killed. Television falling on them, electrocution by sticking a fork in a light socket, electrocution by sticking a knife in a toaster, broken back from jumping off a roof, amputation for wrapping string around a finger…


  7. truthspew Says:

    My favorite among those was “Life Is Meaningless, Followed By Inevitable Death.”

    Yeah, I’m a glass half empty type myself.


  8. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Loved all of these. My favorite was also Life is Meaningless, Followed By Inevitable Death. This could be a series. Other titles might include: Santa and God Aren’t Real, But the Monster Under Your Bed Is! or Enjoy Your Childhood Now Because Being an Adult Sucks Big Time and Yes, Virginia, There Really is a Monster Under Your Bed and He’s Going to Eat You for Dinner Tonight.


  9. gojulesgo Says:

    I burst out laughing at, “Say Ahhhh-mazing!” Though I was surprised not to see my latest paper doll book, “Baby Jesus & Dinosaurs Edition,” featured. I guess I’ll go back to working on my coffee table book of the world’s most fascinating flasks.


  10. Jackie Cangro Says:

    I work in children’s books and our running joke is that you can add the words “under the bedsheets” to any children’s book title and make it instantly naughty.

    It’s how we amuse ourselves.


  11. cestlavie22 Says:

    Haha I started reading this thinking these were real Children’s books! Silly me! Thanks for the laugh!


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