Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories
1964 (original copyright 1928)
An alert reader of this blog was so excited to share this book. She remembered being fascinated as a child by these somewhat gruesome, guilt inducing stories. This was a multi-volume set of bedtime stories originally published in the 1920s by Arthur Maxwell. Most of them with an object lesson that was downright shameless manipulation. Didn’t help with dishes? Your mom probably will die. Didn’t help with chores? Dad will probably die. Selfish and greedy? Someone will die. Given the rather gruesome lessons, I can see many parents and children wanting this type of material. (Uncle Arthur has been brought into the 21st century with a modern website!)
I have included one of these fine stories. Can someone say Story Time?
I have it from some folks that Taffy Sinclair books are awesome. However, the people that said that were in their 40s, so that might not be an effective barometer for today’s teens. Of course, just because something is old doesn’t make it weed-worthy. However, in this case it does. Take a look at the cover. Can’t you hear the jukebox blaring Bon Jovi? There you are right back in 1987.
PS. Is it just me or do the proportions of the booths look a bit off? It looks wrong somehow.
Submitter: This book is on the shelves at [a public library], recently discovered during inventory. All the staff who looked at it immediately thought “pedophile.” Awful cover art added to the general ugh quality of the book.
Holly:Good for your staff for doing inventory! Mary and I are big promoters of inventory. As for this book, the WorldCat description says, “Barbara takes a clown workshop and finds some friends who help her get through problems at home.” It’s juvenile fiction, and lots of public libraries own copies. I know a lot of people (Mary included) have clown phobias and think clowns are weird and creepy. The juggling guy on the cover isn’t even painted up like a clown, though, so he’s not too creepy. Maybe he needs to go back to clown school, or maybe he hasn’t graduated yet. He looks like a teenager to me, too, so I don’t know about the pedophile bit…but I do know that the very mention of clowns puts people like Mary into a cold sweat. I also think that the artwork is very 80s. (Submitter said 2001, but WorldCat shows 1999 for this title.) The cover is not really selling the story that WorldCat describes, but other than that it’s not so bad. Do weed if it has become a shelf-sitter, though.