I Wish I Had a Pirate Suit: A Week of WTF Kids’ Books

pirate suit

This is the second post in the Hugzilla blog series “A Week of WTF Kids’ Books”: a celebration of books that have sprung disturbing or inappropriate themes on unsuspecting parents as they read aloud to their children. The first post is here: The Story About Ping.

Oh goodie! A rollicking pirate story. What young boy DOESN’T wish he had a pirate suit. I snapped this one up eagerly, and without looking further than the actual title.

If I had been slightly more observant I might have noticed the illustration on the cover, which shows a pirate trying to stab another pirate in the spleen as he falls to his inevitable death in the ocean.

I should also have taken note of the author. Pamela Allen.

She writes some @%^$&ed up shit.

It all starts off fairly innocently, as we are introduced to two siblings. The older brother is a bit of an A-type personality (politically-correct term for “pushy asshole”) who gets off on bossing his younger siblings around and making them submit to his will.

He has the pirate suit. He is the captain. He calls the shots with arrogant seniority and his younger brother defers to him with an ambivalent combination of hero worship, simmering resentment and exhausted resignation.

Nothing to see here that doesn’t already happen in this house and millions of other households on a daily basis. ‘Tis the harsh reality of the sibling pecking order.

But then shit gets real. Pirate Pete kickstarts a literary killing spree unrivalled since a young Patrick Bateman first took up the chainsaw.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 7.27.40 pm

He razes a rival pirate ship and watches triumphantly as it goes down in flames, the hapless crew resigned to their inevitable death by drowning, burning, stab wounds, starvation or shark attack.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 7.27.57 pm

He has his younger brother trussed and tied to a pole, and dragged in a clear state of distress to a steaming cauldron of boiling hot water. He sits on a throne, cutlery in hand and napkin around his neck; smirking in delicious anticipation of the act of ritual cannibalism he is about to perform.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 7.28.13 pm

He blindfolds his younger brother and forces him to walk the plank at swordpoint, another act of callous fratricide that catapults him into the open jaws of the six angry crocodiles who are about to tear him apart.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 7.28.25 pm

The body count continues to pile up, and the book climaxes with a revenge fantasy that sees the younger brother unleash a rampaging lion upon his older brother, to viciously maul him with the intent to cause death.

TRY AND EXPLAIN THIS SHIT TO A FOUR YEAR OLD. I DARE YOU.

He’s not a pirate. He’s a sociopath.

This is not a children’s book. It’s an illustrated snuff fantasy.

Actual title: “I Wish I Could Kill My Sadistic Sibling”.

Do your kids like Pamela Allen books?

Is it just me, or is she seriously twisted?

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36 thoughts on “I Wish I Had a Pirate Suit: A Week of WTF Kids’ Books

  1. The only Pamela Allen book we have is ‘The Pear in the Pear Tree’ which is mild compared to the sounds of Pirate Suit (with the obvious exception of the OH&S issues surrounding John and Jane’s use of a ladder to reach the pear). Are her other books twisted in a sadistic way or a I’ve had too many hallucinogens like Enid Blyton way?

    • We have “Pear in the Pear Tree” as well. Black Dog is messed up, and I’ll be covering it for this series too. I’ve actually written about it on the blog before. I’m obsessed with how messed up it is. LOL.

  2. This was I’s favourite book for ages. I did not pay that much attention to the pictures but now that you mention it…. wow. I blame sleep deprivation and the desire to read children’s books within a 2 minute time frame.

  3. Holy shit! Ha ha! Nothing like explaining the concept of cannibalism and death to children early on, I say. It’s an important life lesson- you may get pissed off with your sibling, but please try not to eat them. Must pass this onto my cherubs. We’ve got a couple of Pamela Allen books here, but this gem has escaped me. I am now going to raid my library at work! I think Pamela Allen may need to follow up with the seven stages of loss and grief though to balance out the death. x

  4. In the best tradition of the brothers Grimm?

    We just had Allen’s ‘Mr Archimedes’ Bath’ out of the library for our almost 3-year-old and the large naked dude with a wrinkly butt having a bath with quite a few animals was actually kinda charming.

  5. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Still love your work but I’m going to stick my hand up WAAAY in the air in defence of this one! And most Pamela Allen books. (Black Dog has been put where the kids can’t find it, though. Not ready to explain that one just yet!)

  6. Not everyone would have picked up on the Patrick Bateman reference but I did. We’ve got Mr McGee and The Blackberry Tree by Pamela Allen. Its some messed up shite too – basically about a dude getting molested by cows then gored in the butt by a bull.

  7. We read it once and then we burned it! It’s some seriously f*&ked up shit. Peter may have a pirate suit but he wont need it long because he’ll be wearing prison overalls pretty soon.

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