Monday, November 19, 2012

Children's Books Can Be Creepy and Racist, Part 1

Hello Readers!  It’s literary week here on Sabine of Suburbia.  Actually, this was really only supposed to be one post about creepy, sometimes racist childrens’ stories, but then I found so many I just couldn’t fit them into one day.

So grab a mat, listen close, and let me start our first tale…

See-Saw, Margery Daw
Johnny shall have a new master
He shall have but a penny a day,
Because he can't work any faster.

I initially thought this was a poem about slavery given that in all 188 pages of this book, they have chosen to feature African-American children on just these pages with this odd classic.  Other than that, the only place a child of color or even one with a slight tan appears is when there are groups of children pictured and they had to mix it up.

But have no fear children!  I looked it up and it is not nearly about anything so sinister as slavery.  It is a poem about a topic beloved by all children: child labor.  As a special treat, I will share with you the less known second verse (I promise I did not make this up):

See-saw Margery Daw
Sold her bed and lay on straw.
Was she not a dirty slut
To sell her bed and lie in the dirt?

I think we have a new word of the day!  Who can tell me what letter “slut” starts with?

Wait….don’t cry.  Here you’ll like this one.

You see, the old woman loved her children so much sometimes she had to beat them so they would live up to their potential.  It was a beating of love.  Oh, don’t worry.  They passed out after sustaining themselves on only broth so they didn’t feel a thing.

This one also had a rarely seen second verse:

The cops found the woman
With heroine and pills
Then they sent all the children
To Pedophile Bill

Now good night children.  Sweet dreams.  Have your mommies and daddies bring you back tomorrow to learn about the benefits of smoking and a fun place called prison.  Now seriously.  Go to sleep before that crazy old woman comes and beats your ass.


  1. Slut in olden days meant a dirty house.

  2. Slut in olden days meant a dirty house.

  3. Your article has piqued a lot of positive interest. I can see why since you have done such a good job of making it interesting. demonic possession

  4. Not anything so sinister as slavery? Surely child labour was a form of slavery.