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Published on November 13th, 2013 | by Richard Black

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The Unfit Father’s Scary Scary Town (With Apologies to Richard Scarry)

I’ve recently been thinking about writing a children’s book.

Don’t get me wrong there’s a lot of great stuff out there and competition will be fierce but I think I’ve got an angle, something unique, to offer the field.

One of my daughter’s favorite books is Richard Scarry’s “Busy Busy Town”. For those of you who haven’t read the book it portrays the various jobs that rabbits and bears and other sorts of varmints would perform in a small town assuming they evolved opposable thumbs, large brains and a penchant for 1950’s capitalism.

One of my favorite sections in the book consists of two pages on Main Street where the reader is introduced the various business owners of the town. In one building is an attorney (who solves problems when two people have an argument) a grocer (who sells fruits and other produce) and a bank (where people put there money to keep it safe). There’s even a TV repairman, actually it’s a repair bunny but you get the idea.

I would like to take a different approach. Kids these days need a good kick in the head to know what life is really like before they’re cut loose into the real world.

For example. I’d keep Mr. Scarry’s portrayal of the Irish police officer/bear who helps keep people safe but add the footnote *Unless you’re a minority in LA in which case you had just better run.

For the local bookstore? “Bookstores were a place people used to go to purchase books before Al Gore invented the internet. Books were a series of words, printed on paper that were bound between two thicker pieces of paper. In the larger bookstores patrons were able to buy coffee, a pastry, and have a BM. This function used to be served by what was known as a Library.

The book provides a panoply of other examples for a misanthropic hack such as myself.  A piece of land that has been clear cut for timber, a landfill chock full of machines and left over pork rhinds, there’s a lot of fodder for satire.

I’d like to use the same illustrations as Mr. Scarry but I think his publicist would have a problem with chipmunks and rabbits in flames after a 747 has gone down at the airport or a grizzly bear/TSA agent performing a full body cavity search on a goat.

I may be able to get away with a history of the phrase “Going Postal” in the Post Office section and a history of the woodchuck/former Vietnam veteran who delivered too many Sears catalogs but that’s probably stretching the boundaries of what a national publisher would tolerate.

I’m not saying that “Scary Scary Town” will be a best seller but with the right balance of pragmatic advice and real world experience I like to think it would find a market. Assuming, of course, that people are still buying books a few years from now.


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