Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gorey, Dahl, and Creepy Kids

Why is it so hard to understand that some kids love creepy stories too?  One of the reasons Roald Dahl is so popular with adults and children is because of his colorful characters.  I stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we see that children can too be the villains in a story.  In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, the stories start with the three nice Baudelaire children's parents dying in a fire and they are sent to live with their horrible distant relative, Count Olaf.  Throughout the 13 book series, they are relentlessly pursued by Olaf and are surround by sorrow, death, and humor.   These books are as funny and witty as they are dark and mournful.  Children are no strangers to darkness and violence, many of there playtime is spent acting our scenes far more deadly than they even realize, slaying dragons and fighting wars with action figures.  When they can see something potentially frightening, like the death in a Gorey drawing or Augustus Gloop almost drowning in chocolate - seeing the humor allows them to realize it's not real and overcome their fears.  It helps them in future unsettling situations to look past what scares them and decide what is really happening.  They are not being desensitized, for they know (thanks to how sensational the stories are) that these are stories, fantasy, fiction.  In my opinion, as long as you are not forcing something you know for a fact scares your child, you are doing them a service by exposing them to the comedic creeps like Dahl, Gorey, Snicket, Tim Burton, and R.L. Stine.  Their imaginations expand and they learn ways of dealing with their own fears.
Do you agree?  If not, why?


  1. I completely agree, I was a child in love with the strange. Tim Burton movies enthralled me, I loved Shel Silverstein poetry books like "where the sidewalk ends" and "falling up", I still own all my Lemony Snicket books and I currently read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series to my nieces. It's okay to be scared, it's okay to experience another emotion, a different feeling from happy all the time. Stories doesn't always have happy endings and just because something is creepy doesn't mean it isn't funny. I think it's good to expose children to different genres of literature. Goosebumps are great stories and I talked about this last night with some friends but I still remember the show "Are you Afraid of the Dark" that was on Nickelodeon when I was a kid. I remember them pouring the water over the fire at the end and the smoke rising, it gave me chills as a child, and I loved it. This alphabet book is fun, it's harmless and honestly I loved it and showed it to one of my nieces Peyton (3) and she asked me to buy it for her. I completely agree with your view of this book and the fact that it show no harm to children or the psyche.

  2. I agree also. All my children loved those books you mentioned and I was happy because they were reading. It didn't cause any lasting effects if fact they all love scary movies to this day. More importantly, it got them reading.

  3. I agree with what you are saying, but I personally don't agree with this type of story book. I understand that these types of stories and movies were present in our childhood, but it's still something I've been able to look at now and wonder why that was allowed. Today, schools filter so much from children and I'm not sure if I completely agree with some things they are keeping away, but I like that they are becoming more aware of this. I.'d be surprised if, "the night before christmas" would even be acceptable anymore.