My husband came up to me I-pad in hand a few weeks ago. He was so excited to show me a you-tube clip. I was in the middle of something else at the time and was only half paying attention. Then he pressed played and got my full attention.
I heard Samuel L. Jackson’s signature commanding voice. He was reading what looked to be a kids story, filled with colorful illustrations. But page after page was filled with the f-word. The storyline is a parent pleading for his child to go the F to sleep.
The book is selling like crazy. Last week I saw a stack of them at a cash register at a newsstand at the Chicago airport. Later I saw the book prominently displayed in a bookstore in Bozeman, Montana.
One page reads:
“All the kids from daycare are in dreamland.
The froggie has made his last leap.
Hell no, you can’t go to the bathroom
You know where you can go, the fxxx to sleep.
Uhhh. My jaw dropped when I heard that. I wasn’t sure whether to blush, scream or burst out laughing. The book is definitely high on shock value. Some critics rip the book wondering “What if it ends up in the hands of a child?” Others criticize it as a sorry substitution for good parenting. “It cheapens and dumbs down parenting,” one editorial said.
Crass -yes. But it’s hugely popular because parents can relate. The author, Adam Mansbach, wrote the book after a night in which he struggled to get his 2-year old daughter to sleep.
Been there. Done that. Every night.
So I get it. When I suspend my suburban good-manners, non-swearing part of my brain, I see it for what it is– a really funny inside joke for parents who silently plead – why the f won’t you go to sleep.
The sleep deprived new mom going on month 4 of multiple night wakings has thought that.
The dad driving in circles through the neighborhood at 10 pm with baby strapped in the back seat has thought that.
And so has the parents of many toddlers faced with a nighttime ritual that begins the moment the lights are out and the last story read.
“Good night, sweetheart.”
“Mommy, I’m thirsty.”
“You just drank.”
“Mommy, I need to pee.”
“Ok, but make it quick.” (few minutes later)
“Mommy, I need to poop too.” ( a few more minutes after that.)
“Mommy, I’m still hungry.” “No, you ate already.”
“Mommy, can I have one more story?”
“No, sweetie, we read 5 books already and it’s late.”
“Mommy, will you sing me one more song?”
“No, sweetheart, It’s past your bedtime….” (and it’s time to get the f to sleep.)
Category: Book Buzz