No Post Day: ‘A Boy Martyr’ And Other Childrens Books I Should Have Avoided

The opening credits of The Bugaloos
Let me know if the YouTube isn’t available.

When I was a kid I can remember being given a crayon and a pile of paper and a book and told the game was called “Lets Transcribe A Book.” I can’t remember the name of the book, but when I was a kid I didn’t have ‘normal’ books. I didn’t read Dr. Seuss until I was thirty, I have yet to read Alice In Wonderland or the Mother Goose and The Brothers Grimm libraries. Stuff like Rudolph I got in school, thankfully I wasn’t Totally home schooled — although I did learn lessons and play games some other kids didn’t. Like “Lets Watch For The Unmarked Van”, and “here’s what we do if the Pigs break the door down…”, actually the kids were just moved down the street to a Safe House when that became a distinct possibility.

I can remember, after the divorce, being introduced to Sharon, Lois and Bram. Mom actually took us to one of their concerts. And there was Sesame Street and Romper Room and Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, but all of those came after I was nine. I was hooked on Sesame Street when I heard that “one is the loneliest number” thing, Mr. Roger’s was all about a kind father-type dude and his toy train. Romper Room, of course, was all about the anticipation of having her see you through her special mirror and hearing her call your name. Bitch.

The books I had access to as a child, like “A Boy Martyr”, mostly involved serious young children wearing red scarves getting one over on the Landlord. There was the odd one about sharing your extra sweater with people who had no sweater, but mostly they generally ended with: “You’re dreaming if you think you can slip through Little Red Guards’ Fingers!”, which is a quote from “Sea Flower” who was a psychotic little child warrior for Mao who denounced enemy agents, gleefully sent Adults out for reeducation and killed dozens of otters with her spear.

And this is now the longest No Post Day ever, and I can’t believe Anita Marie would be terribly impressed with me making a Real Post out of an NPD, so I’ll wrap it up by saying I’m taking a couple of days to let my brain recover from the past week of Dealing with Stuff. So, to get back into a proper frame of mind I’ll be playing hours and hours of GTA: San Andreas, eating quite a bit of Old CheddEr Cheese and drowning my frontal lobe in Aspartame. Ah, No Post Day… truly You are bliss.

So my question, for anyone willing to participate, what were your favourite children’s stories Back Then and, if you have kid(s) or plan on having kids, what are the ones from Back Then you would never, ever tell them today?

Bonus points for admitting to which fairy tale character or Children’s Show TV personality you’d totally Do freaky stuff with/to in a clothing store changing room… mine would be:
1. Sea Flower
2. Joy from the Bugaloos
3. Deedee from The Doodlebops
4. Miss. Fran and Miss. Betty from Romper Room, but it’d be angry sex and Mr. Doo Bee would have to watch…




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
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16 Responses to No Post Day: ‘A Boy Martyr’ And Other Childrens Books I Should Have Avoided

  1. exactscience says:

    “The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark”. By a small margin. After that “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.

    I’d read my kids Roald Dahl, I’d encourage to read whatever they want to though may push “Catcher In The Rye” on them when they are mid-teens – I totally lost out reading when I was 19, I needed that book when I was 15.

  2. darkentries says:

    Fantastic Mr Fox definitely.
    I read quite avidly a lot of Enid Blyton when I was 7 or 8. I had a strange fascination with tales of young girls at boarding school, like Mallory Towers. Maybe not so strange after all. Maybe it could be classed as 7 year old porn. (and thats porn for 7 year olds, not…oh never mind)

    I also read Lord of the Rings at about 7 or 8 which totally rocked my world. I spent a lot of time poring over that old map of middle earth.

    TV show starlet…Michaela Strachan from the Wide Awake Club (also known as Wacaday).
    She looks pretty odd now, but back then, she was my ideal woman.

  3. exactscience says:

    Awh man. I forgot Enid Blyton – I lived on the Famous Five and Secret Seven when I was 8-10. Also the Mister Men and Little Miss books were quick and bright and ace for kids.

    Check out The Road To Mumbai by R. Jeyaveeran for a great piece of modern kid literature – the art is superb as her other books

  4. giannakali says:

    Charlotte’s Web….the first book I remember moving me to tears in the 2nd grade. Always a sucker for a good love story.

  5. bambikiller says:

    If you’ve ever read it: The Gashlycrumb Tinies was my growing up book. Sick stuff.

  6. thordora says:

    hrm….I read so many books as a kid, I don’t remember any ones being favorites….I never really dug the “classics” as a child.

    I remember I used to always get this Electric Company book out from the library when I was really young. When I got older, I read this book about these kids dying and them haunting the road they died on constantly.

    ooH! I know! The Alexander books by Judith Voirst. Those are AWESOME.

  7. melanie says:

    Judy Bloom… Fudge was a great character! My eldest daughter would agree.

    As far as stories I wouldn’t tell my girls…Any of the fairy tales. If you check their origins, they’re all pretty twisted

  8. Gabriel... says:

    I don’t know, I think if/when I get around to impregnating someone the kid’s going to get all the old classics. There are some interesting new stories, but I find them all too safe. It’s like cartoons, I’d prefer my still-imaginary kid to watch uncut Looney Tunes rather than sanitized Disney mush. I’ll admit to wanting to jump off of most bridges and cliffs I stand on, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Wile E. Coyote who taught me that… plus most of Ye Olde Stories have some pretty awesome moral centres.

    I guess I never actually said what my own favourite is… from Back In The Day, like before I was nine, it would probably be “Sister Double Happiness” (1977)… couple of quotes:

    1. Black Bull was completely soaked but happy. He raised a captured pistol and said: “Killed a Japanese and got a gun. This is really double happiness.”

    2. Sister Double Happiness’ spirits rose. “Our guerrilla’s are attacking the enemy stronghold in the town,” she said. “The power of Chairman Mao’s idea (sic) on people’s war is tremendous…”

    Since then I have several favourites… The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Hobbit, James Herriot, Watership Down… but my absolute favourite would have to be The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

    And I freaking love ‘The Gashlycrumb Tinies’ but I keep losing track of the name… thanks for bringing it back to me.

    I wikied Fantastic Mr Fox and it looks great, very old school moral lessons.

    Michaela still looks great… but I’m kind of disappointed no one picked a member of S Club 7.

    I never got into the Girlie Books like Judy Blume or Charlotte’s Web. Zane Grey westerns were a huge favourite of mine for a long time… basically they were romance novels for Little Dudes.

    Thanks a lot for playing along.

  9. broke says:

    …that video… very disturbing, like some terrible Freudian nightmare… and I’m just about to go to bed. Children’s books? Don’t give them anything with a Xtian subtext.

  10. Anita Marie says:

    No post day rules around here Gabriel- and as for your choice of reading material?

    Dr Seus, hands down is the creepiest of the lot.

    Good choice.

    More No Post Days !

  11. only4now says:

    I do not remember being read to as a child. However, books quickly became my safe haven.

    Books I read to my sons vary greatly depending on their ages. “The Giving Tree” and “Rainbow Fish” are two favorites for the younger age.

    “The Bridge to Terabithia” moved me as an adult as much as the class that I was reading it to.
    (the movie is not even close)

    I love to buck the system by reading as many books as possible from the list of ‘most requested banned books.’

  12. exactscience says:

    That is list is terrifying. There are some great books in there. I only read about four in primary school and about fifteen in total.

    Roald Dahl is on there which is flat-out weird.

    If I ever meet R.L.Stine I’d buy him a beer and a hot-dog. Goosebumps were insanely accessible and wear passed around my class quickly, this is equally true of Point Horror books and Roald Dahl. He was as responsible as Dahl and Blyton for me reading.

    Also two of my favourite books are on that list.

  13. Exactscience says:

    The Telegraph’s 100 books every child should read

    A good list to be starting with. I have read forty of the entries

  14. belledame222 says:

    ““You’re dreaming if you think you can slip through Little Red Guards’ Fingers!”, which is a quote from “Sea Flower” who was a psychotic little child warrior for Mao who denounced enemy agents, gleefully sent Adults out for reeducation and killed dozens of otters with her spear.”


    it sounds like it would make a great Charles Busch play, though.

    I could see why RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH types would try to ban Roald Dahl; he’s kind of evil, especially when it comes to disposing of horrible authority figures.

    I read…Dahl, the Narnia and Oz books, the Little House books, Andrew Lang fairy tales, and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. there was a brief period in prepubsecence where I liked the Sweet Valley High series, but for the most part as a young child I was rather Victorian in my tastes.

  15. belledame222 says:

    oh yeah: Blume, Beverly Cleary, the Anastasia Krupnik books. “Harriet the Spy” and the two sequels.

  16. Gabriel... says:

    Hello and welcome belledame222… I know, the otter killing thing is really just the cherry at the tip of the sundae.

    When I was a kid we did have a movie night for the kids… we’d get them from the library and show them against the wall. I don’t remember it being a regular thing, but I do remember some of the movies… there was Dahl’s “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” with Gene Wilder, I remember Buster Keaton movies, and some Laurel And Hardy movies… “Babes in Toyland” seriously fucked me up for years.

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