Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review Times Two: Go the F**k to Sleep and Monsters Eat Whiny Children

Once upon a time, I was a teenage babysitter, and a two year old boy I was watching just couldn't get his eyes closed - but also couldn't stand it if I left the room. He just really, really needed me to sing to him: lullabies, endless lullabies, more lullabies than I knew ... and at some point I ran out: out of patience and mostly, out of lullabies. So I sang him other songs I knew, softly, as though they, too, were lullabies. Helpful hint: Little kids don't know the difference between Twinkle, Twinkle and the Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated.

I'm sure he grew up just fine.

As parents, most of us have been to that place - in the wee hours of the morning, when a cranky and wide-awake child creates a parent who despairs of ever getting any sleep. Everything you've been taught or read in a parenting manual is an exercise in futility, and you know it makes you a bad parent, but

Come on kid, go the f**k to sleep!

Adam Manspach has captured this sentiment perfectly in his pseudo-children's picture book, Go the F**k to Sleep. Told in rhyming verse, the tale takes us through each successive stage of a long evening spent with a sleepless child, and all the things we're not supposed to think*, but do anyway.

The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
How come you can do all this other great sh*t
But you can't lie the f**k down and sleep?

Ricardo Cortes' lush illustrations accompany the text, with beautiful scenes of sleeping villages at night, sleeping lions and tigers, glorious mountain peaks against a dusky sky ... and a gleeful, animated, but mostly wide-awake toddler bouncing through the scenes.

It's the perfect gift for the new parent, assuming they have a sense of humor**. Some late night, they will need it, and read it to their toddler, and it won't help the kid sleep it will help mom or dad get through the experience.

When they get a little older***, an important book in any parent's arsenal should be the lively Monsters Eat Whiny Children, by Bruce Eric Kaplan. It follows the saga of Henry and Eve, two whiny children who don't heed their father's warnings and are promptly stolen by a monster. They whine as he makes whiny-child salad with them, but since his wife doesn't care for cilantro dressing, he hoses them off and attempts to make whiny-child burgers instead ... but has some trouble with the grill. And on it goes, with more monsters joining in and suggesting what dish would be the best way to serve two delicious whiny children:

"We could make some rice, put a little curry on them, and have an Indian dish," someone suggested halfheartedly. "Perhaps a whiny-child vindaloo."
They all tried to figure out if they were in the mood for Indian food.
Sometimes it's so hard to figure out if you're in the mood for Indian food.
The illustrations are simple but witty doodles that accent the comic text perfectly. I just adored this book and laughed hysterically at several pages.

My daughter, age eleven, promptly claimed my copy, claiming she needs it, "for someday when I babysit, I'm going to read it to the kids. It will be very handy."

I'm sure they'll grow up just fine.

*Eff you, Doctor Spock. And all your successors.
** And if they don't, why are you friends with them?
***Assuming they live that long. Seriously kid, go to sleep.


  1., I am sure they will too.
    well, most likely.

  2. Haha! I already heard of the first book, but the 2nd one is new to me. I don't have children of my own and my cats sleep perfectly well... on me or on my pillow or all up against me.. they steal my blankets too. I wonder if there are any books about that as well ;)

  3. I was one of the lucky parents. I have 3 children and they always went right to sleep when it was time to go to bed.
    Here's My WC

  4. Oh I love the sound of the Monsters Eat Whiny Children book -- I'll have to look for it at the library

  5. This one looks like fun for adults as well as children.

  6. I listened to Samuel L. Jackson reading Go the f**k to sleep and it was hilarious. Love it.

    The whiny children book is something I need badly, :).

  7. I thought that first book was hilarious, I imagine the second would be similar. Thanks.

  8. Just not my kind of humor I think.
    We went 8 years, count 'em, without sleeping through the night. Now I sleep 10 hours quite often. :<)

  9. LOL! I almost bought the first book as a NookBook, but it didn't get very good reviews. Sounds like a good giggle to be had for $3.99, though. Haven't heard of the 2nd book, but will probably wait for it to come out in e-format. Thanks for the recommendations!

  10. Monsters sounds like a worthy successor to Gashlycrumb Tinies. I'm buying it immediately for someone I know...

  11. I will give this one to my brother who has a 5m old son, I'm sure he'll appreciate the irony.


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