Monday, May 18, 2015

Children’s Books: The Form That Evil Takes

There is no evil like that found in children’s books. Unrelenting, unapologetic, unrestrained and pure, the baddies in kid’s books don’t need any excuses and don’t seek to apologize. As a clan, they tend to be bad to the bone. In The Guardian, author William Sutcliffe notes that:
When writing for adults, every character, however malevolent, has to have a nuanced motivation behind the choices they make. Only when writing for children can you give full rein to pure, unadulterated wickedness. Children’s literature is filled with preposterously nasty people who are motivated by greed, sadism, vengeance and hatred.
Here is Sutcliff’s Top Ten list of ways to be bad in books for kids:
1. Kidnap
2. Hating Children
3. Killing the protagonist
4. Eating the Protagonist
5. Skinning the protagonists
6. Anarchism
7. Disliking Christmas
8. Sending children to bed with no dinner
9. Dictatorial tendencies
10. Being Spoilt
Clearly all of these require explanation. The full piece is here.


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