Welcome back to this week’s installment of the #badbabybookreview, with Elmer and the monster.
That’s right folks, we’ve upgraded from baby board books to full-on picture books. Hold onto your knickers, it’s going to be one hell of a ride!
What is Elmer and the monster about?
The highly recognisable Elmer features in a classic series of children’s books about a happy-go-lucky patchwork elephant. While Elmer has many an adventure, this particular one stands out to me as being utterly ridiculous and potentially dangerous for children. Now, you may think I’m being dramatic (and you would be totally right), but I do think that by the end of this review, you’ll agree with me.
Slightly. A little bit. If you want.
You see, Elmer goes on his usual morning walk one day and finds that literally everyone is running away from a roaring monster. So, you’d think he’d run away too. But you are wrong. Because Elmer continues his walk despite being repeatedly warned of danger by all of his friends.
Eventually, after a number of stupid comments in response to the warnings from fleeing animals, Elmer comes across a blue, fluffy thing. The fluffy thing is crying because he’s scared and that makes him roar like a monster. So turns out, there wasn’t any danger in the first place.
But how the hell would Elmer know that!?
If there is any whiff of anything remotely dangerous around, I want my baby to know she should run the other way. It’s a big, bad world we live in now. Children should be taught when to stick around and when to make a sharp exit. Plundering on despite frequent warnings is both irresponsible and terribly idiotic.
I’m afraid I half-wished Elmer would be eaten by a monster, just to serve him right.
A critical analysis of stupidity
So what sort of things does Elmer quip as he’s on his merry way towards potential death and destruction?
When told of the monster, Elmer muses such things as; “Very interesting” (no it’s not), “Fascinating” (I hardly think so) and “I have never seen a monster” (that’s a good thing, plonker). But the ultimate stupid comment has to be in response to the crocodiles telling him to turn back, when he says, “Or go on carefully“.
When someone tells you to turn back, you do not continue on. They are telling you for a reason – to possibly save your life. ‘Carefully’ should never come into it. The minute you carry on, you become vulnerable and however careful you may think you’re being, it won’t matter if you’re not equipped to handle the situation.
Sorry, got a bit carried away there – I’m not having a go at you, reader, Elmer has just got me worked up!
What is Elmer and the monster trying to get at?
The point is basically that fear breeds fear (I think).
Only those brave (or stupid) enough like Elmer will uncover the truth and resolve whatever needs resolving.
Elmer takes the blue, fluffy thing back to all of the animals and shows them that it’s him they’ve been afraid of all along. He tells them, “You’ve all been rather silly, but it’s quite funny really“.
I don’t think it is Elmer, to be honest. I think your friends were the sensible ones and you were a bit of a turd. Yes, it’s great that the danger turned out to be a harmless little fluffball. But you were lucky. It easily could have been something more sinister.
I have a right mind to make up the ending to Elmer and the monster when I read it to my baby, skipping out the last few pages and telling her that he gets eaten instead. She’s a big fan of The Walking Dead right now, so I’m sure she’d take it in her stride. At least if it scared her, she’d be less likely to pursue danger when it appears in real life.
I’m not really sure what the author was thinking, but it’s a strange book indeed.