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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Character Assassination Carousel: Babar gets poached

I'm super excited today (just ask my husband, who will happily confirm that I won't shut up about it) to take my turn on the Character Assassination Carousel, the awesome innerwebs meme invented and hosted by none other than Ninja Mom herself (Squeeee!), a.k.a. Nicole.



Bloggers fortunate enough to ride the Carousel get to choose some piece of children's lit that gives them hives and an eye twitch, and completely rip it to shreds (by which I mean "make fun of it," though literally ripping these books to shreds is also highly recommended).  If you want a ticket to ride, click the button above and contact Nicole!  Actually, you should click the button even if you don't want to get on the carousel, because all the past assassinations are linked there and they're FUN-NY (no lie), plus everybody knows that clicking buttons is good for your health (science fact).

The last assassin was Jester Queen, who totally derailed the Little Golden Book, Tootle, and all of its train traumatizing, creativity stifling, anti-meadow-frolicking nonsense.  The next horse to come around the carousel will carry Ellen and Erin from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms - only time will tell which book they'll blast into oblivion, but I know you're going to want to tune in because those ladies are always  making me laugh (true story)!

But for now we'll be shouldering our elephant guns and focusing our night vision scopes on Babar, the royal elephant.  Or more specifically, Babar's Little Girl, by Laurent De Brunhoff.


This is the story of multiple consecutive parental nightmares, cleverly disguised in a rickrack-edged miniskirt and roller skates.  It opens with a pregnant-to-bursting Queen Celeste and a dangerously inaccurate message to our daughters that, during pregnancy, you can expect to be transported around on a carriage by two giraffes and your Dorothy Hamill-haired monkey butler until one day - plop - out comes the baby, easy as pie.  Well, at least they got the ginormous size and stump-like pregnancy cankles right.

I don't think you should have to wear one of those
hospital mumus if you're giving birth in the woods.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the king and queen are cousins?   But no biggie - kids love stories about inbreeding!  Pretty soon the new baby, Isabelle, is beloved by her siblings (who, I suppose, are also her second cousins) despite the fact that she appears to be a spoiled, annoying little brat.

Here's the page that helps set up your kids' unrealistic expectations
for their next birthday party.

So even though she throws stuff and yells and plays the trumpet nonstop, for some reason they all seem awfully upset when she wanders off - for the second time in the story.  I skipped telling you about the first time because frankly, the storyline in the beginning of this book is pretty random.  Must've lost something in the translation from French (she said, generously).  Personally, I'd be sort of glad to get rid of a toddler who played the trumpet, but whatever.

Suffice it to say that Babar told Isabelle on the previous page not to disappear again without telling them where she was going - that was ONE PAGE AGO, mind you - and here she goes traipsing off already, this time during a family hike in the mountains.

I don't know about you, but my kids ignore my rules plenty  without disobedience being glorified by this elephant kid.  I absolutely lose my mind when I tell my kids to quit doing something, they look at me with those pitiful, sorry little eyes, and then they start doing it again before I even have time to leave the room - so as I'm reading this part to my children, I feel the book doesn't do nearly enough to convey to them how absolutely irate I  would be if one of them  ever considered wandering off.  In the book, the mom is the only one who looks anywhere close to properly ticked about being stuck up in the mountains, searching for her wayward delinquent as the sun goes down and the other kids start to whine about being hungry.

You'd probably have better luck if you fanned out a little bit -
why's everyone looking in the same place?
Then again, she's an elephant.  She shouldn't be that hard to find.

Meanwhile, do you think Isabelle gives one thought to anyone else's feelings?  Nooooo.  She's off cavorting in the woods.

Elephants are surprisingly agile.

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, Defiance? Running away? TRUMPETS? Surely this is where the poor behavior modeling ends.  Or at least Isabelle will be getting her comeuppance soon, right?  And why does the word 'comeuppance' look so ridiculous?  Oh well, I'm sure you Googled it to make sure it was correct.

Well, you're right, I did Google it, and it is correct though it does indeed look ridiculous.  But you're wrong about Isabelle.  She neither starts making better choices nor learns a Tough Lesson brought about by her naughtiness.  Instead of going home or waiting at a predesignated Safety Zone for her parents to find her, she does the last thing we'd want our  kids to do - she hitches a ride with a transient drifter.

Hey there creepy old man, can I hop in your boat
so you can take me to a secondary location?

As bad as that sounds, what comes next is actually the part of the book I detest reading to the kids the most, just because I can hardly manage to do it without pausing to give a twenty minute lecture about Stranger Danger.  After being ferried across the river by some random elephant (who, if I may digress, slightly resembles Walter Matthau), she does one of the most dangerous things an unsupervised child can do, aside from juggling flaming knives while staring into an eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.  She runs right up to a house owned by two unknown male weirdos, where she announces, of all things, "I'm looking for someone to play with."

Way to make a bad situation worse, moron.

"Can I come in? I always wanted to be on the side of a milk carton."

I don't even know what these guys are  - a moose and a giant beagle?  Bullwinkle's grandpa and the love child of an albino Barney and a lump of Play Doh?  We probably don't want to think about it too much - and besides, there's no time to guess while you're reading the book, because you're too busy being horrified by all the stuff she agrees to do while she hangs out with these suspected pedophiles.


"Hey, let's have a snack, which you could easily have laced with rat poison or psychotropic drugs!  Then let's play hide and seek - I'll hide in the room covered in mirrors without ever once wondering what possible reason there could be for you to have an entire room covered in mirrors!  No encounter with strangers is complete without testing out some yoga positions together - that goes without saying.  And don't forget to teach me how to play poker - my parents will be thrilled with my new gambling addiction - if I happen to make it out of here alive, of course!"

So finally it occurs to them (after  seeing her parents' televised impassioned plea for her safe return - yes, they were even letting her watch TV - those monsters) that she probably has a home and a family somewhere.  While they discuss their options, you can almost hear the shallow grave being dug as they lament that - oh no, big surprise - their car is in the shop, so they have no way to take her home.

Luckily, they eventually remember their other mode of transportation - their hang gliders!


Here, climb on my back!  And don't ask a lot of questions,
like why I happen to have a child-sized tandem harness lying around.

Miraculously, Isabelle makes it home without being kidnapped, murdered, drugged, molested, or breaking all her bones in a freak hang gliding accident, although I couldn't help but wish (just a little bit) that SOMETHING bad would happen to her just so that my kids' eyes wouldn't be all glazed over with the implied consequence-free adventure to be had by wandering off, talking to strangers, riding in a boat without wearing a life jacket, and just generally disobeying everything I've ever taught them.

Our one last hope for a moral to the story is at the very end, after her siblings greet her and tell her how jealous they are of all the awesome fun and excitement she always gets to have, and she has to face her parents.  Look out, Isabelle, you're gonna get it now!  I don't know if your dad wears a belt with that lime green pimp suit or what, but you're in for some kind  of whupping.


Or maybe not.

Nope, they listen to her story, and their only response is, "Our Isabelle is certainly special," followed by hugs and a nap.

What?  No lecture for running off?  No attempt to find, question, and possibly strangle the adult male strangers who held your daughter captive all day and then suspiciously slunk away before anyone at the castle could see them?  She's not going to be locked in her room for all eternity, forced to watch back-to-back episodes of "To Catch A Predator" and "48 Hours Mystery" on endless loop until she's properly paranoid that danger lurks around every corner?

But never fear - I've fixed the book!  If you own a copy, please feel free to print out the following pages and glue them in the back, so that when you read the story to your children, instead of leaving them with the impression that running away from home is a fun, rewarding activity with no repercussions, it will end with a moral, justice, and (finally) Isabelle's comeuppance.




You're welcome.  Now just rip out all the other  pages in the book, and it'll be perfect.

Whew, I feel so much better!  Don't forget to check out the blogs linked up above (right after you click the banner below, of course) for laughs and possibly a ride on an elephant's boat, though I can't make any promises about that last part!
Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory



I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely. I get extra-pathetic when I'm lonely.


31 comments:

  1. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

    Robyn, this is one of my top three favorite assassinations. So, so good. Really, really.

    Thanks!

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  2. @Nicole, THANK YOU SO MUCH! My face hurts, and this time it's from smiling about your comment, not the usual reason (jaw injury from chewing too many gummy bears at once). It was a blast and an honor to ride the Carousel - thanks!

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  3. Oh. My. Shit. That was one of the funniest things I have ever read.
    You are a Carousel Genius.
    Now I must tell everyone to read this, once I get the laugh-tears off my face.

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  4. @Kim, I'm so glad you liked it, that means a ton to me! I'm totally going to add Carousel Genius to my resume - it's probably going to be the most impressive thing on there. :)

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  5. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I am SO glad I am home alone (and even that I have put off my run) because I am laughing so hard that I am wheezing. Run, schmun, this qualifies as an ab workout!

    The inbreeding, the mutant pedophiles, the re-write! And WTH with the room of mirrors? It is all my favorite.

    Masterful!

    Ellen

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  6. @Ellen thanks so much! It makes me happy to hear you liked it, but I'm also always happy to discourage real exercise whenever possible, so that's an extra bonus for me. ;)

    I wish I could take more of the credit for this post, but the book was sufficiently terrible that the roasting practically wrote itself!

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  7. HA!!!!! It took me a minute to recover my ability to do anything other than laugh incessantly. I have always thought that Babar and his crew were ripe for a take-down, but this was beyond anything I could have imagined and the bonus pages to his it at the end---well, that's some comic genius right there. Ellen told me that I had to read it and she was right!! Great job, Erin

    PS--- DO we really have to follow this??? The bar is very high.

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  8. This is so fricken awesome I don't know where to start telling you how awesome it is. I laughed so hard that I think I busted the elastic in my knickers.

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  9. @Erin, I almost forgot about Babar (must've blocked it out) - luckily the husband reminded me or who knows where I'd have ended up! :)

    I can't WAIT for you guys to take your turn - it's gonna be GREAT!

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  10. @Sue, Busted Knicker Elastic is, without a doubt, my new favorite humor barometer. :D

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  11. @just keep swimming, thanks so much - glad you were here!

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  12. um, i would comment right now but the laughter has cut the oxygen off from my brain and i can't get any words to form. holy crap, that's funny. would someone please do "a fly went by" next???

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  13. I always thought Babar was pretty lame, so I'm really glad I missed this one.
    "I'm looking for someone to play with" - I will never ever be able to hear this line again without thinking of this post. Hysterical!

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  14. THis is beyond hysterical Robin!!! You are a genius with writing- seriously. COme link this up to my Sat laughs! Thank you for making me spit out my coffee this am!!!

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  15. This was hilarious. I'm completely new to this carousel, and this was fantastic. I laughed out loud more than once. Awesome!

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  16. @dbs, smiles x2 - thanks!

    @Susan, "A Fly Went By" is SUCH a great suggestion! I'm sending someone over now to administer CPR.

    @busymom, this is the only one I've read - not a good intro if they wanted me to get hooked on the series. :)

    @Melissa, you're so sweet! I did link up, but I'm later than usual because I got a steam cleaner and couldn't wait to use it (I know, I'm SO COOL)!

    @Stephanie I'm so glad to hear it! :) Thanks so much!

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  17. No one ever cares about Isabelle's feelings. HAHAHA ;)

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  18. "during pregnancy, you can expect to be transported around on a carriage by two giraffes and your Dorothy Hamill-haired monkey butler until one day - plop - out comes the baby, easy as pie" HAhahaha! That's exactly what I was expecting my wife to be doing when she found out she was pregnant!

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  19. @PishPosh, yeah, poor Isabelle. That poor, poor, irritating little brat - I mean sweetheart. :)

    @DrCynicism, well of course that's how it happened for ME, but I'm aware that not everyone leads the glamorous life of an elephant queen.

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  20. Elephants are very agile. Just ask my mother inlaw...she has a mullet and is shaped like an elephant and can jump...well maybe not.
    This just kills me.
    Really.
    Funniest thing I've read in a long time. Seriously.

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  21. @kimberly, "Just ask my mother in law" - HA!!! I'm assuming the "well maybe not" is for the jumping, but the rest is true. Thanks for saying nice stuff, and for making me laugh. :)

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  22. This was SO FUNNY! It just got better and better as I kept reading. I think the best part was about bullwinkle's grandfather and the albino Barney/playdoh love child! HYSTERICAL.

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  23. That is so excellent. I nevere liked the babar books and it wasn't because they were creepy but they are so weird. Now I think they also might be CREEPY!! Found you at finding the funny.

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  24. so many incredibly cool comments, baby! and they're all true. i laughed out loud several times, possible even guffawing once or twice, and i know you know it's true, because you're sitting next to me on the couch. i think you're super awesome crazy, and you're MINE!!! bwahahaha!!!

    also, i'd like to point out that you gave me a shout out in these comments at the same time we were having a "disagreement." that's the kind of thing that un-bitchin' people just don't do.

    yes, i'm bringing "bitchin'" back, as in "that concert was bitchin,'" or "these hot wings are bitchin'. it would be bitchin' if they had boneless ones, because i don't like the bones."

    or, "i think you're pretty bitchin', baby. thanks for being mine."

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  25. @poopandotherthings, first off, great blog name! :) Second, my husband pointed out that bullwinkle's grandfather might actually be a camel, and I think it's possibly Joe Camel himself (of cigarette fame), now that he's been forced into retirement. He always did have a reputation for being a bad influence on kids. :)

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  26. @Sparkling, weird and creepy, fo sho. Yet they burn Catcher In The Rye and Huck Finn - WHY NOT BABAR, INTOLERANT BOOK BURNERS? WHYYYYY???

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  27. Haha! I love it! Reading about Babar's little girl also made me think about many a Ben Stiller movie. He never learns, either.
    Does this comment sound like I've been drinking?

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  28. @Ang that made me laugh so hard! Ben Stiller never DOES learn, and I'm officially adding "does this sound like I've been drinking" after everything I say from now on. :)

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