By: Brian Boone

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Gritty Reboots of Classic Children’s Books

Caps for Sale

Originally: A cap peddler takes a nap under a tree. As he sleeps (spoilers!), monkeys steal all of his caps, which he keeps on top of his head. He yells at the monkeys, he screams at the monkeys, and when the monkeys tire of harassing the peddler, they give the caps back.

Reboot: The monkeys don’t bother waiting until the peddler is asleep to steal his caps. He pleads with the monkeys to give him back his caps as the monkeys claw and rip the caps from his head, and ultimately, his hair and scalp. As he takes his last breath and collapses under a tree, the monkeys nonchalantly toss the caps onto the peddler’s corpse, and move on to the next town and the next peddler.

Green Eggs and Ham

Originally: “Hey, eat these eggs.” “No.” “Please?” “No.” “Pretty please?” “Okay.” “What do you think?” “Not bad.”

Reboot: “Green eggs and ham” is the slang term for high-grade Bolivian heroin, for which Sam I Am is a street-level dealer. If he can’t get every junkie in town hooked on the stuff by the end of the day, his dealer, The Fox in the Box, is going to mail Sam I Am’s head to his mother.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Originally: The graduation present from lazy people, it’s about all the adventures life has to offer you, the mid-20th century, middle-class American.

Reboot: It’s a harder world today. Lacking all text, it’s a picture book consisting entirely of images of the tragedies and misfortunes that await the young reader, including jail, an unemployment office, a divorce court, a cheap nursing home,, a graveyard, and an unpaid internship.

Miss Nelson is Missing!

Originally: A sweet first grade teacher named Miss Nelson dresses as the witch-like substitute teacher Miss Viola Swamp to make sure her students are well behaved when she’s not around.

Reboot: Miss Nelson has no need to make sure her good little boys and girls are good little boys and girls. She’s an escaped convict and has no idea when she’ll suddenly wake up as Swamp and barge into a classroom full of unsuspecting children. Budget cuts have eliminated the background checks that would keep someone like Miss Nelson/Miss Viola Swamp out of the education system.

Are You My Mother?

Originally: An egg hatches out a baby bird, who asks everyone she sees ‘ a dog, a cat, a piece of construction equipment ‘ if they are his mother. Eventually, he finds his bird birth mother and sweetness ensues.

Reboot: An egg hatches out a baby bird, who asks everyone she sees ‘ a dog, a cat, a piece of construction equipment ‘ if they are his mother. The bird returns to his nest in time to see his mother skip out with Dave, her meth-head boyfriend who says he’s going to take her to Reno and make them both rich.

The Snowy Day

Originally: A beautiful, gentle, wordless tale about a little boy exploring his neighborhood after a snowfall.

Reboot: The same book, but a coda reveals that the titular snowy day was all just a dream. It hasn’t snowed where the boy lives in more than 100 years, and that city was NEW YORK. Also, fascist robots are in charge.

Madeline’s Rescue

Originally: Part of the series of books about a dozen French orphans. In this one, Madeline falls off a bridge into the Seine.

Reboot: Unnecessary.

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