We are certified book junkies in this house so I’ll often pick up new titles from the op-shop, given how greedily we devour them.
Most of them cost less than $2 each so I’ll often buy them sight unseen, particularly if we already know other books by the same author, which is what I did when I grabbed a copy of YIKES! In Seven Wild Adventures, Who Would You Be? by Alison Lester. We’re fans of her whimsical yet slightly-too-wordy stories, which are mostly enjoyable with some ad-hoc editing (yeah, I’m a total wanker. I like economy).
So when I picked this one up I assumed it would be much the same. The concept certainly sounded interesting, and I thought the interactive element was a cool touch. It’s simple: the author sets the scene, introduces eight characters and then invites the kids to choose which one they want to be.
Then, on the next page she sets about the task of BRUTALLY MURDERING THEM IN INCREASINGLY GRUESOME WAYS.
Think I am being melodramatic?
You be the judge…
Scene 1: A raging storm at sea
WHOOPS! The ship sinks. Several people look certain to drown, including a baby. One gets eaten by a shark. The rest are pretty much all fucked, whichever way you look at it.
Scene 2: The Wild West
“What’s that man doing mummy?”
Oh, nothing… JUST BEING EATEN BY A COUGAR WHILE HE LIES DEAD IN A DITCH. Or, at least I hope he’s already dead otherwise his day just got a whole lot more messed up.
Scene 3: The Big Top
Man incinerates cage full of leopards with mouth-fire.
Scene 4: The Frozen North
We meet the “hard, embittered contract killer known as Deadly Dan” before he gets strangled by Georgia Swift, just as he is about to take a hit out on someone.
Because I REALLY wanted to explain what a CONTRACT KILLER is to my THREE YEAR OLD, fuckyouverymuch.
I threw the book aside with great force at that point, but if we’d kept reading we’d have encountered the following morbid scenarios:
Sorry kiddo, you picked the bus driver. He’s being devoured by a saw-toothed space alien.
Sorry kiddo, you picked the bandit leader. He gets mauled by a tiger just before he stabs the princess. Lily gets slowly squeezed to death by a python and Jamshed drowned in the river. His hat floats forlornly downstream.
Sorry kiddo, you picked the housemaid. Turns out she’s a vampire who gets stabbed violently through the chest with a wooden stake. She’s a bleeder, for sure.
So yeah, that was enjoyable. Way to fucking traumatise my kid.