Sunday, March 8, 2015

Children's Literature And Entertainment Through The Years As Well As Vast Disappointments. And Other Stuff

Ugh. Could we quit playing GOD and changing the time twice a year? I mean, what is the point and what is the reason? Because we can? Tradition? Stupidity? Butt-headedness? Laziness?

Whatever. It's not like you can just do a bit of civil disobedience and say, "Sorry, not participating." Well, you could but it would not go well unless you live off the grid, have no appointments and never leave the yard.
I'm striving for that but it hasn't happened yet so it's almost noon and we just finished breakfast which, truthfully, is not that unusual for a Sunday.
Bitch, bitch, bitch.

Sure is another pretty day here in North Florida. In fact, it's so nice and sunny and warm that I feel as if my brain has melted into a puddle of butter like Little Black Sambo's tigers. And yeah, yeah, that story is considered all racist and shit now and I wish it wasn't because it charmed me so much as a child. Do you remember the story? There's this little Indian boy named Little Black Sambo and his papa is named Black Jumbo and his mama is named Black Mumbo and there are tigers and new clothes and an umbrella and the tigers turn into butter and Black Mumbo makes pancakes and they eat them with the tiger butter. It wasn't considered a racist work when it was published in 1899 and the illustrations looked like this.

But then new editions came out and instead of being portrayed as Indian, the family were drawn as Africans in the most insulting way and there you go.
I'm pretty sure that I was introduced to this edition.

I still think it's a charming story.

Okay, I did not come here to talk about Little Black Sambo. I did not actually come here to talk about anything at all because my mind, as noted, has melted into a pool of butter. We did not have pancakes to eat butter on this morning. We had eggs and grits. I think I might take a walk because it is so very beautiful and it would be silly not to. My dumplings last night were NOT great. I used a recipe I found online and it claimed to tell me how to make "Chicken and dumplings straight from a southern grandma's kitchen."
Well, let me just say that some southern grandmas couldn't cook dumplings for shit. 
Don't get me wrong- it was still all fit to eat but it just wasn't nearly as good as those frozen dumplings that are sold at Publix. I freely admit it. 

So Owen has a birthday party to attend today and of course, Gibson has thrown up three times this morning. Lily reports that aside from the puking, he seems to feel just fine. Mr. Moon has had a bit of a tummy upset as well (not from the dumplings, I assure you) and so perhaps there is a little bug going around. Anyway, due to Gibson's gastric thing, Lily was not going to be able to take Owen to the birthday party and he was the unhappiest child on the planet. I believe he may actually have said, "You have broken my heart!" to his mother and so of course I'm going to go play with Gibson so that Lily can take Owen to the party. 
As we all know, Mer Mer cannot possibly allow a grandchild's heart to break if she can do something about it. And in this case, it is simply done. 
Lily asked me if I didn't think it was wrong to probably introduce the bug to the party via Owen, who, although asymptomatic, is probably carrying the thing.
"Yeah," I said. "But if it's going around, they're all going to get it anyway."
Is that wrong? 
It's not like it's Strep throat. 

I will never forget the time I could not go to see One Hundred And One Dalmatians because I came down with the measles. In those days (which was four or five weeks after dirt was invented), there were only about two movies a year that were made for children and one of those was probably some horrid Russian thing that scared the holy fuck out of kids but because it was animated, everyone took their kids to see it. Do you remember the Snow Queen? And then there were the movies for kids that wrenched our hearts out and made us cry and have nightmares of grief for the rest of our lives. Anyone recall watching The Dog of Flanders?
How about Old Yeller?
In one of those, the old man died. In the other, it was the dog. I'm not sure which was worse. But I will say that these movies left us poor little baby-boomer children stunned and silent with horror for days after watching them. I myself have obviously never quite gotten over the experience.

My Lord but I am wandering all over the map today.

The point here is that I don't want Owen to have to remember the pain and agony of not being able to attend Ethan's birthday party until the day he dies due to his brother's puking. 

Well, I guess that's all the stream-of-consciousness I need to spew. Mr. Moon indicated that he might need some help attaching a fender that he painted back onto the car. I should go check to see if he does.

What are you doing today? And what were some of your favorite books as a child? Is your tummy okay? Would you eat pancakes with butter made from melted tigers? Did you set your clocks ahead? 
Etc. Feel free to discuss any and all of these topics or pick one that you feel compelled to expound on.  

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I don't like setting the clocks ahead or behind. I guess they say it is for the school kiddies and that it saves money in manufacturing plants, etc. Not that we have any manufacturing plants in this country anymore, mind you!

    My mother never changed the clocks. Left them the same all the time. She would have to calculate all the time. One of the things that kept her brain working, I think.

  2. I loved that book too. But I completely get that the illustrations are ridiculous.

    I changed the clocks before I went to bed last night. I love that smart phones and computers are smart enough to change their own time. One good thing is that we can sleep in a bit and still see the sun rise.

    I would do just what you're doing if my grandchildren lived nearby. One of the absolute worst things about caring for my mother is that I cannot go see my son and his family. Well, I suppose I could, but it's well over 400 miles and that's a 2-day drive with my mom. And with all the shouting in her sleep, that means 2 motel rooms. So I think all of the things you do for your grandchildren are wonderful and generous and just plain common sense. xoxoxo

  3. Favorite children's books? Oh, There are so many! My grandmother seriously encouraged my bookworm tendencies by buying me loads of books as a child.I'm so grateful to her for that! (I should write her and tell her so....she's 87 and still living independently!)

    Favorites: The Laura Ingalls Wilder books, the Narnia series, Anne of Green Gables, most of the Newberry Award winners from the 70s and 80s, The Secret Garden, Fudge and Superfudge, the Ramona books, poetry by Shel Silverstein, Richard Scarry books (for the illustrations!) The Dark Is Rising, Where the Red Fern Grows, many!

  4. I was introduced to the Little Black Sambo story with a really old copy of the original book and I adored it. I was so envious of Little Black Sambo for having such a great life, and wearing such bright coloured clothes. And having pancakes and that beautiful umbrella and a tiger.... I still remember it. Many members of my family had lived in India for decades and talked about it so fondly, that it is also associated with them.

  5. I had a little black Sambo book as a child, and never realized it was racist at the time, probably because my parents didn't realize it, either. I even named my black cat after Sambo. It wasn't an attempt to be funny or a put down or anything bad. I loved the name. It seemed to fit. It makes me cringe now. Education is a hugely important part of realizing these things. We had no people of colour in our community or our local school. I never witnessed their treatment by whites until I was much older. To me that story was simply about a child far, far away - like someone from Russia or France or Japan. I didn't have the life experience - nor did my parents - to understand the issues.


    The stomach bug thing? From what I understand, you're not contagious until you show symptoms, i.e., puking or diarrhea, although you can have the bug in your GI system for up to two weeks afterward, so it's good to wash especially well after bathroom visits for that time period.

  6. I loved Little Black Sambo and I had the edition in the first picture above. I still to this day don't get why it is considered racist. because they have the word 'black' in their names? big fucking deal. it's a black kid with black parents who has an adventure and brings butter home to have with his pancakes. what the fuck is racist about that? raining here. gee, what a surprise. heading in to the city soon to stay with the grandkids.

  7. Re Ellens' question, from what I recall my book was the African American version and the conversations were written in dialect, which seems pretty much a stereotype to me. I don't know about the original version.

  8. Now I need to go dig in the basement among the old books and check out the inherited copy of Little Black Sambo. It was my father-in-law's as a child so it must now be about 80 years old.
    I love dumplings. And grits. And never eat them. The discovery of the carbohydrate was on a dark day indeed.

  9. I remember Little Black Sambo well, and LOVED the story! In the St. Louis area there was even a Sambo's restaurant (kind of like Denny's now), and they had Little Black Sambo all over the restaurant! I loved it....then it closed.
    Today hubby and I said so long to my Illinois aunt and uncle who had visited for two days, then talked to my Daddy, who was in Nashville heading our way. I went and bought Florida strawberries, red peppers, and tomatoes to be ready for him tomorrow. We've had a beautiful sunny day all day and hubby just declared that the time change has him screwed up and it's nap time. I love the 'spring forward' a whole bunch, and hate the 'fall back' twice as much!

  10. I had the same Little Golden Book of Little Black Sambo. And racism never reared its ugly head. We were innocents and just loved the story!
    As for the movies that haunted us baby boomers? The one I could never get out of my mind was "The Yearling". Talk about trauma!
    Oh, and...hate the time change, love dumplings. 'Nuff said.

  11. If every child stayed home when someone in the family was sick I don't think anyone would go anywhere all fall and winter long.

    I seem to remember that book but I don't remember thinking that Sambo was black. I just remember the little boy. In the part of Canada I live in in the 70's "black" was not something I remember. One of my best friends was brown but I didn't realize it until I was older.

    Fucking clock changes. I have to get up at 6:00 and I was so anxious that I was going to sleep in I was awake most of the night. I was confident my ipod was going to change from 2 to 3 and then after that I dreamt I was an hour late for work.

    My tummy was upset last night but it was better this morning.

  12. An easy Wiki search can lend a lot of consideration and education about the stereotypical origins of Little Black Sambo.

  13. I had that Little Golden Book. I didnt think it was racist. I didnt think at all, I'm just a n old white lady, raised in the north where getting a seat on the bus depended on what stop you got on, not on your skin color.

  14. I hate the time changes so much and I'm so against them. If I were to crusade against anything in my life, besides the patriarchy, it would be the time changes. Down with both.

    I'm glad Owen got to go to the party. You make me laugh. And your words are so comforting sometimes.

  15. I recall the name of the book but not the book. My favorite books were Dr Suess' and Nancy Drew. My God mother's sister-in-law gave me my first book. It was red. I have no idea what the name was but red was my favorite color forever until it was pink. I went to Yoga Nidra in Pacific Palisades and had such a lovely view of the ocean today. It was breathtaking really. I like the time change in fall when I get an extra hour to sleep - just that first day. I have a job for the next two weeks. I have so much to do and I'm lazing. I'll take a nap and then...

  16. By the time I started coming up, the book wasn't really around. But I am from LA where a popular chain of pancake houses called "Sambo's" were. I remember my older cousin saying we should never go there anther and my dad talking about it. He said the Sambo story was really about a little Indian boy but that later the "Sambo" image started turning up all over products and had older black men caricatures similar to Amos and Andy. He sad that was too bad because the book was good. Which is exactly what you said.

  17. You have such an interesting life! Vomiting children, attaching fenders to cars...I am being completely truthful when I say there is always some interesting stuff going on at Chez Moon.

    I don't remember ever hearing that Little Black Sambo was about an Indian boy. By the time I grew up it was pretty much verboten, so I never even read it. (Or maybe it was just verboten in my household.) I do remember the restaurant chain "Sambo's," though, as GradyDoctor mentioned.

    And YES, I also remember those horrible, gut-wrenching "children's movies" like Bambi and Dumbo and Old Yeller. I don't know what the hell our parents were trying to do to us.

  18. Peace, Thyme- I think the time change started during a war and it allowed the farmers to work longer into the evening? Hell. I don't know. Whatever the reason, it is no longer valid.

    Denise- Well, it is so easy for me. I live less than twenty miles from Lily. And my mother is dead, so...
    Yeah. Smart phones and did we live without them?

    Jennifer- A child who loves to read and who is fed a steady diet of good books is a lucky, lucky child! I am so glad you had that experience. It serves you to this day, I'm sure.

    Jenny Woolf- I felt the same way! Such a cool little kid with such cool stuff AND tigers and a mama who made pancakes. Yep.

    jenny_o- Honest to god, I don't think we viewed it as racist because originally, it was not. Just a beautiful fable.
    Always a good idea to wash our hands!

    Ellen Abbott- Totally agree with you about the book. It's gray here today too. I hope you have fun with those grands.

    Marty Damon- You don't eat carbs? Oh gosh. I could never do that. I would love to see that edition of the book. I hope you find it.

    Catrina- I remember Sambo's restaurant. I surely do. Sounds like you're getting the best of Florida! The strawberries are abundant this year, aren't they?

    Lis- I read the Yearling long before I saw the movie. And I cried every time I read it. Still do, as a matter of fact. Heart-rending.

    Birdie- I love the fact that you didn't think about color. That is so beautiful.
    The time change sucks. Yes it does. I hope you feel better.

    Madame King- I know. It was just so charming to me as a child.

    Not Blank- You were lucky, dear.

    Ms. Vesuvius- Down with both of them, indeed! I love the fact that you find me soothing. I am thinking about you and your trip so much. Golly, but I want you to have a good time!

    Joanne- Books always seemed so magical to me. Still do. I'm so glad you got to go see the ocean! What a wonderful thing. Good luck with the next two weeks! Don't work too hard.

    Gradydoctor- I am so glad that your dad agreed with my experience. It WAS a good story. And I do remember the restaurant. It was a popular late-night hang for us when we were in high school.

    Steve Reed- Well, it's not boring around here. Well, sometime it is. What was DISNEY trying to do to us? Jeez. No wonder we're all anxious and depressed now. We never got over the horror of the movies we watched.

  19. I was first traumatized by Bambi. I remember crying in that movie and I was just a little tyke. Forget old Yella. I cannot watch anything where animals die. National Geographic is off limits.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.