Remaking Children’s Books to Have a Message For Adults

A while back I mentioned Starboortz Fish, a libertarian re-telling of The Rainbow Fish. Now there’s Goodnight Bush: An Unauthorized Parody, which is a version of Goodnight Moon with George Bush as the title character.

Goodnight Bush

Goodnight Bush apes the look and tone of the original story with great fidelity, but replaces the rabbit, his grandmother, and his toys with well-known images and items from Bush’s presidency. Gone is the rabbit falling asleep; instead there is Bush as a young boy wearing flight suit pyjamas. What fascinates me about this is how they’re using the hook of a beloved children’s book to promulgate a message about the President. It’s something that looks like a children’s book but that is squarely aimed at adults.

A quiet Dick Cheney whispering hush Starboortz Fish was a straight-forward libertarian message for children. Goodnight Bush is a critique of Bush’s presidency that trades on memories of a much-loved childhood book. It depicts the Twin Towers as a pile of blocks being knocked over by a toy airplane and the color-coded terror levels as a xylophone. What raises it above a mindless mashup is how the medium is part of the message. Part of their critique is that Bush has treated us like children; in response, they wrote a children’s book about him.

When I first talked about Starboortz Fish, I made up a bunch of goofy libertarian versions of classic children’s books. I had no idea that my vision of those books being recast as political argument would come true.

2 thoughts on “Remaking Children’s Books to Have a Message For Adults

  1. I wonder what people are going to do when Bush isn’t President anymore. It’s going to be a very long time (I hope) before we have a target this easy.

  2. Andrew: we’ve been making fun of Presidents since before George Washington (and yes, I’ll steer clear of the discussions about how George wasn’t actually the 1st president, just the 1st one under the Constitution). It’s interesting how quickly the dream candidate becomes Jay Leno’s punching bag about 20 seconds after the inauguration … and it’s pretty sad when Jay’s able to mock you.

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