CLOSE

8 Children's Book Themes Dr. Seuss Never Tackled

Everyone reads Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, Shel Silverstein and Maurice Sendak books growing up, but there are thousands more children’s authors out there. With so much competition, some authors choose to cover unique subjects in an attempt to stand out from the crowd.

1. The Illicit Drug Trade

Do your kids need to know more about the drug industry? Well then, The House That Crack Built might be just right for educating them about everything from the workers struggling in Colombian fields to drug dealers to homeless crackheads. While the book intends to show the evils of the drug trade, it also does a great job at showing that becoming a drug kingpin can get you one heck of a house.

2. Weed

Maybe you’re a 420-friendly kind of parent who doesn’t want your child to think all illegal substances are evil. Well, in that case, you’d better grab a copy of It’s Just a Plant as soon as possible. This title, written for children aged 3-5, tells the story of a young girl who walks in on her parents smoking marijuana and then is educated about the plant and why adults sometimes use it, but children never should. This might cause some confusion when the D.A.R.E. program starts up at their school.

3. In-Utero Boredom

Most children’s books are oriented towards kids that have already been born, but Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here! tells the story of a bored little fetus awaiting the big day when it can finally come out and see the world.

4. Fertilization

There are differing opinions on when you should introduce your kids to the birds and the bees, but for those who want to teach 4-7-year-olds about the subject, Where Willy Went is a good way to start. The book stars Willy the sperm and his nemesis Butch who compete in the swimming race every day until Willy finally makes his way into the big prize, the egg inside Mrs. Browne. Eventually, the egg becomes a baby girl, but no one knows where Willy disappeared to, until baby Edna starts showing off the same traits as the little winning sperm.

While the book won’t answer all of a kid’s questions about baby-making, it certainly makes the story of fertilization fun.

5. Constipation

If given the chance, most kids would survive on a diet of ice cream and candy. While this might be a delicious way to live, we all know that it’s not healthy, and it would wreak havoc on someone’s digestive system. Fortunately, It Hurts When I Poop is there to teach children why their diet can make it easier or harder to go potty and why they shouldn’t hold in their poops too long.

6. Flatulence

Ever since Everyone Poops became a breakout success, children’s authors have become obsessed with talking about things that come out of our backsides. This specific title was actually created by the same author as a follow up to Everyone Poops, offering to explain where gas comes from and why it stinks.

7. Urinals

This book is specifically oriented to children living in Brussels, as the plot revolves around the famous bronze statue of the little peeing boy. When a toddler sees the statue, he is inspired to start standing while urinating. While his first few attempts fail, he is soon peeing on trees, snails and more, finally standing beside his father at a urinal.

8. Conjoined Twins

Actually, Seuss did include conjoined twins in his 1953 musical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, but this book includes a short history of famous conjoined twins and talks about the medical causes of the condition. It's more about accepting other people regardless of their differences. The author goes into detail about how Siamese twins are different from most people, but also makes sure to focus on how, in many ways, they are like everyone else.
* * *
Have any of you ever bought one of these books for your youngster? Or, do you guys have any titles to add to the list?

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Keystone/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
How to Craft the Perfect Gag, According to Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Keystone/Getty Images

Dubbed “The Great Stone Face” for his ability to hold a deadpan expression even as the world (quite literally) crashed down around him, Buster Keaton was “one of the three great silent comedians” in film history, according to filmmaker Tony Zhou.

A video by Zhou, spotted by The Kid Should See This, explains just how Keaton managed to pull off such memorable stunts, and why his scenes continue to influence modern actors and filmmakers. First, Keaton shunned title cards and subtitles, instead opting to advance the story through action. He disliked repetition and thought each movement should be unique, while also insisting on authenticity and proclaiming that a filmmaker should “never fake a gag.” If a gag couldn’t be captured all in one shot, he wouldn’t do it.

The angle and positioning of the camera was also paramount. Many of Keaton’s vaudeville-esque gags were visual in nature, toying with the viewer’s perspective to create illusions that led to hilarious reveals. But for that to be successful, the camera had to remain stationary, and the joke had to play out entirely onscreen.

A low-speed chase scene in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, where Ralph Fiennes's Gustave H. runs up a long staircase in the background to escape cops, is a modern example of this. “Like Wes Anderson, Buster Keaton found humor in geometry,” Zhou says.

Check out Zhou’s video below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
arrow
History
15 Funny Quips from Great American Humorists
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The art of social satire is a tough one, but a great humorist's keen observations, witticisms, and turns of phrase continue to ring true even decades later. "Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations," the musical comedian Victor Borge once noted. "There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth." (In other words, it's funny 'cause it's true.) Here are 15 more quips from some of America's most astute commentators.

1. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

Mark Twain
Rischgitz, Getty Images

"Familiarity breeds contempt—and children."

2. DOROTHY PARKER (1893-1967)

Dorothy Parker looks at the camera. There is a man in a tuxedo and wine bottles in the background.
Evening Standard, Getty Images

"That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."

3. JAMES THURBER (1894-1961)

James Thurber smokes a cigarette sitting in an armchair.
Fred Palumbo, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Last night I dreamed of a small consolation enjoyed only by the blind: Nobody knows the trouble I've not seen!"

4. NORA EPHRON (1941-2012)

Nora Ephron smiles for press at an event.
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

"Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be."

5. GORE VIDAL (1925-2012)

Gore Vidal
Central Press, Getty Images

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."

6. ARTEMUS WARD (1834-1867)

A sepia-toned cabinet card of Artemus Ward
TCS 1.3788, Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"They drink with impunity, or anybody who invites them."

7. GERTRUDE STEIN (1874-1946)

Gertrude Stein sits at a desk with a pen in her hand.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"The thing that differentiates man from animals is money."

8. FRANKLIN PIERCE ADAMS (1881-1960)

Franklin Pierce Adams sits at a desk that's covered in papers.
Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory."

9. ETHEL WATERS (1896-1977)

Ethel Waters leans in a doorway.
William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic."

10. ROBERT BENCHLEY (1889-1945)

Robert Benchley sits at a desk in a scene from 'Foreign Correspondent.'
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with that it's compounding a felony."

11. AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914)

A seated portrait of Ambrose Bierce
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited."

12. MAE WEST (1893-1980)

A portrait of Mae West
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before."

13. GEORGE S. KAUFMAN (1889-1961)

A seated portrait of George S. Kaufman
The Theatre Magazine Company, photograph by Vandamm, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"At dramatic rehearsals, the only author that's better than an absent one is a dead one."

14. VICTOR BORGE (1909-2000)

Victor Borge plays the piano.
Keystone, Getty Images

"Santa Claus has the right idea—visit people only once a year."

15. GEORGE CARLIN (1937-2008)

George Carlin doing a stand-up set
Ken Howard, Getty Images

"Atheism is a non-prophet organization."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios