Every week, the kindergarten kids at our elementary school lug home a plastic bag full of books to read with their parents.
Generally, we like the Home Reading kit, because it contains an assortment of random books at a variety of reading levels.
Some of them are repetitive and easy to read, and the 5 year old can attempt reading them solo. Others are for parents to read out loud.
Every so often, a book comes home in the bag that forces me to pause, ponder and evaluate exactly how it managed (not only to get in the bag) to make it into print at all.
I’m not even talking about books that are utterly worthless content-wise. Those books exist. Aplenty.
I’m talking about books so heavy on the “WTF?” that it’s hard to believe that nobody, at any level, questioned their existence.
Not a single person, from publisher to educator. Someone spent money on the development, promotion and procurement of this dreck.
Disclaimer: I have spent much of my life hunting for double entendre in all things, so it’s not much of a stretch that I would find my mind lying in the gutter the minute I read the title. Having me find a hidden subtext in something is akin to Charlie Sheen finding a whorehouse in Amsterdam. It’s going to happen.
Today, my kid was getting ready for school, and drags out the bag o’ books and pulls some cartoon dog festooned kiddy paperback out of the bag. Something pinged my radar. Defuq did that cover say?
Welcome to Chubby Town! Chubby Town?
Instantly my poor diseased mind went for a dive into the sewer. Worse, the repeating purple motif on the back cover is of some seriously phallic looking bones. No, really.
You see, in my hometown (back in the day) “chubby” was not a weight reference. It was a very obvious dick reference. As in “Hey! Look at Dave! He’s getting a chubby over you grabbing him like that, Steve!”
Next, my mind decided that Chubby Town sounded like a lame pickup bar for very large people, and the people who fetishize them. Chubby Chasers.
…and then? I thought of Chub Packs. Nothing is more relevant to 5 year olds than stories about hamburger meat squished into a tube of plastic!
Shaking it off, I decided that this was likely a case of me being a sick freak, and that I’d have to figure out how to not laugh my ass off when reading the book to the kid later.
I went about my day.
Lunch time rolled around, and I went for a mosey into the kitchen to make some food and tidy up the counter. There was Chubby Town. Sitting there. Staring at me. I picked it up.
Read that shizz:
You know who wants to show pre-school kids a chubby hug? A fun chubby hug?
Also? Sophie is a liar. I remember my first chubby hug, and it hurt the first time.
At this point, despite the intense desire to mock the book ruthlessly with all of my sarcastic and equally gutter minded friends, my inner Tipper Gore alarm started to go off.
Visions of myself marching into the school office to demand why the school and Scholastic were promoting pedophilia danced in my head!
Imagining the faces of administration as they tried to talk me off of Batshit Leap!
The potential witch-hunt through the school for other creepy Chubby Town books! Oh! Oh!
Yes! Yes! The power is mine! Muahahahah.
Or…I could just mock it ruthlessly online.
Chubby Town. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot?