If you liked, “Go the f**k to Sleep,” but somehow wish that it was more morbid, then you should check out a new book, “Inside, Screaming, Sinking Down,” a parody of the Berenstain Bears, “Inside, Screaming, Sinking Down” pokes fun at the anxiety-riddled parent by showing a morbid version of the Berenstain Bears morality tales.
The book is written by one of my Facebook friends, Karl Middlebrooks, who, by the way, is also a parent, and even if don’t read the book, if you like absurdity in everyday life, you should at the very least friend him or subscribe to his updates, because his dry sense of humor and daily musings on life keep me quite entertained when I tire of a newsfeed filled up with cute kid pictures, which I fully admit are often my own.
Btw, this book came out before Jan Berenstain died a few weeks ago, so it’s purely coincidental. Or perhaps Karl killed her just to get attention for his book. Hmmm
After sending me my very own review copy (oh the perks of blogging!) Karl answered a few of my questions about the book.
“It’s a parody of one of my childhood favorites that became one of my daughter’s favorites when she was younger: “Inside, Outside, Upside Down.” If you haven’t read that one…a little bear goes and gets inside a box, the box gets loaded on to a truck and the truck drives off. Ultimately the little bear falls off the moving truck and walks down the road until he gets home. The book was in pretty heavy rotation on the reading list for my daughter along with some other Berenstain Bears books (“Bears at Night”, “The Spooky Old Tree”, etc) and various other ones of varying qualities.
“And just because my mind works in weird ways, as we’d read “Inside, Outside, Upside Down” I found myself thinking that if you’re particularly dense, you could come away with the message that little kids who go playing in boxes, wind up being accidentally kidnapped, and fall off moving vehicles can just toddle on home down the highway without any ill befalling them at any step of the journey.”
As his morbid sense of humor took over, he asked himself, what would be more akin to a real life situation?
“…After all, it wasn’t unusual for my friends and I to be allowed to play in cars when we were little. Cars were awesome, and normally when you’re in the car with your parents, you have to sit still. If the car was sitting in the driveway, we could climb all over the place and do all the things you weren’t normally allowed to do in the car. And I kind of ran with it from there, because I’ve seen cars slip out of gear and roll down driveways and streets before.”
(This totally happened to me when I was 5! I remember it very clearly because I tried to push my moms’ green Rambler back up into the driveway while wearing my silver tap shoes, as if that was the real deterrent. Luckily, my mom was standing on the porch and saw me behind the car.)
Karl fully admits that the book is completely inappropriate for kids, even though his now 11-year-old daughter read it when she was 10, and thought it was hilarious, he says he would not show it to just any 10-year-old.
“I loved the idea of having all these cute little illustrations and pastoral scenes as a setting for a story that was just terribly inappropriate for children.
“Someone mentioned to me that this book was just terribly inappropriate for anyone, and I told them, ‘Well, yeah. But let’s face it. If we’re talking about how everything has a message or agenda, my take is a more realistic cautionary tale than the original. So, there’s definitely a little bit of a dig at our own anxiety as parent.”
“…I think most parents have stories of toys and activities that we survived but were just completely unsafe.”
Karl says his book also allowed him to poke a bit of fun at one of his own pet peeves, helicopter parents.
“…I see a lot more focus on safety, whether its in toys, activities, or literature. I’ve met folks like that, and they irk me. At some level, I understand the idea that we want our children to grow up independent and strong, but we also want to keep them safe; from my personal point of view, though, we’re a little out of balance on that. Teaching kids to be independent involves risk. Sometimes, I think we focus on safety to the extent of being just weirdly paranoid about it, as if safety is the apex of childhood.”
Karl’s book can be found under the pseudonym, Karl Keaton, in honor of his late mother (her maiden name), who was a voracious reader, and also had a twisted sense of humor.
Since Karl is an uber-geek, he’s on every social networking site on the planet, so take your pick of favorite spots to check him out.
He blogs at www.listlessennui.com
Oh wait, you say you want the book? Right. At the moment it’s available in print on Lulu at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/inside-screaming-sinking-down/18931042 It’s $9.95. He’s working on getting it into Amazon and also into ebook form, which will be out in approximately a month.
There was no form of compensation other than a book reminding me not to allow Annika in a car near a body of water. The end.