“Borrowed” from Amazon: The mother sings to her sleeping baby: “I’ll love you forever / I’ll love you for always / As long as I’m living / My baby you’ll be.” When her son grows up and leaves home she takes to driving across town with a ladder on the car roof, climbing through her grown son’s window, and rocking the sleeping man in the same way. Then, inevitably, the day comes when she’s too old and sick to hold him, and the roles are at last reversed.
I’m going to be perfectly honest: I found this book a bit off-putting and creepy. The Little One didn’t care for it that much either. A large part of what I didn’t like were the illustrations. I found the drawings of the people almost disturbing and somewhat out of proportion. Plus, the whole concept of the book struck me as odd. Let’s take a little tour through the book, shall we?
This drawing is on the cover and one of the opening pages. The Little One was horrified. “Why is that baby allowed to play in the bathroom alone and make such a big mess?” I had to agree with him; there seems to be poor supervision here. And neither one of us found this child appealing or cute.
The drawing above is from when the “boy” is a man and lives in his own house. His mother drives across town in the middle of the night and:
If all the lights in her son’s house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep, she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
OK. Now this is just downright weird and creepy. She is breaking into her son’s bedroom in the middle of the night, crawling around on the floor and then rocking him? If you woke up and your mother was crouched by your bed—having crawled into your bedroom window in the middle of the night—wouldn’t you think something was seriously wrong with her? And look—she brought her own ladder!! I’m sorry, I don’t find this cute or touching; I’m thinking mental illness here.
Aside the from the creep factor, the proportion in this drawing just bothers me. Look at that cat! And how would a little old woman get a sleeping man into this position without waking him up? Is he an Ambien addict? There are just so many things to think about with this picture.
I shall spare you the drawing of the grown man rocking what I took to be the corpse of his dead mother two pages on. The Little One was upset by this page and asked a lot of uncomfortable questions. And you know how the book ends right? The son (who must have been aware of this whole nighttime rocking song the entire time, even though he was allegedly fast asleep) continues this tradition with his baby daughter. Good luck explaining your breaking and entering into your grown daughter’s bedroom to rock and sing to her, Mister!
I know this book is a “classic” children’s book and I understand the sentiments, but frankly I found the book creepy and the drawings disturbing. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about the book.
Have you read this book? Do you find it charming or creepy?
This book counts toward my 451 Challenge. I got it from Paperback Swap, and I plan on swapping it back out. This isn’t one I feel we need to keep.