After this year's World Science Fiction Convention, I was sitting around the bar with some writers and editors and we got to talking about subversive kids' literature. Everyone had their favorites, but then George RR Martin proceeded to describe a book so incredibly twisted, funny and wonderfully wicked that I could scarce believe he wasn't putting me on. But George is the man who introduced me to Froggy the Gremlin
from Andy's Gang (immortalized in his classic, page-turning rock-and-roll horror novel The Armageddon Rag
) and so I figured he probably knew what he was about.
The book was the 1961 Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein. Yes, that Shel Silverstein, author of many books of justly beloved poetry for children. But Uncle Shelby isn't quite for kids (indeed, recent editions bear the subtitle "A Primer for Adults Only"). No, not really for kids at all.
Because Uncle Shelby is here to teach the kids the alphabet (mostly -- his alphabet goes abzdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyc) with a series of nasty, laugh-out-loud funny exercises and misinformative advice that nearly cost me a keyboard, as I happened to be drinking water while reading it. Some examples:
R is for Red: The fire is red, the fire engine is red, the fireman's hat is red... Too bad the fireman only goes to places WHERE THERE IS A FIRE.
T is for TV: See the nice TV. The TV is warm... The TV loves you. Do you know that there are little elves who live inside the TV? ...If you take Daddy's hammer and break open the TV you will see the funny little elves. What will you name them?
And then there's the penultimate page: WARNING! It is not nice to burn books. It is against the law. If your Mommy or Daddy tries to burn this book, call the POLICE on them.
Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book
Three. The left ear, the right ear, and the final frontier. (Thanks, Cash Ashkinos!)
The UK humour site Daily Mash nails the UK’s transformation into a Torified, bank-centric place where the need for shelter is a vulnerability to exploit in order to enrich yourself at the expense of the people around you with a brilliant short piece: “Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes.”
We should all be so lucky to be loved this much.
This Smartphone Photo Lens Kit arms you with six unique smartphone photography accessories, so you can take high-quality and well-composed photos of any subject from small insects to expansive landscapes.6 unique lensesRolls up neatly for transportTripod for stabilitySmall lenses attach seamlessly with magnetMicroscope and 8x telephoto lenses attach with a case (case attaches to phone)Lens wallet […]
Inspired by the universality of symbols, the founders of Noun Project began to collect thousands of hand-drawn icons. The concept has since transformed into a massive digital collection of 150,000+ unique icons that fuel the work of designers every day. Spend less time crafting icons and more time putting amazing designs out into the world with […]
You won’t need to think twice about going hands-free on the road with Exomount’s easy-to-use car mount. It mounts your smartphone so easily, you literally only need one hand to quickly secure your phone in the perfect position and get driving. Don’t risk a ticket, use the world’s best suction technology to effortlessly mount and […]