People share the very weird things about children's book from the past

Parents reveal the books they loved as children that seem VERY bizarre reading them back to their own little ones – from a sheep vomiting the world to The Factory Made Boy arriving in a tin

  • British parents on Mumsnet have reflected on the weirdest books for children 
  • Some said the Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont was a strange tale 
  • Others suggested Marvin Wanted More by Joseph Theobald was odd

These books are children’s classics enjoyed by little ones around the world – but many of them seem ‘bizarre’ when read again as adults. 

Parents from around the world took to UK-based Mumsnet to reveal the children’s stories they used to love when they were younger but struck them as odd when they read them to their own kids. 

The thread was started by a mother who was reading The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont to her children. 

British parents have reflected on some children’s books’ they found particularly disturbing on Mumsnet. People cited Changes, by Anthony Brown, which tells the story of a boy alone at home hallucinating that strange things are occurring, like this kettle turning into a cat 

In The Elephant and the Baby Baby, a chef, butcher and ice-cream seller run after an elephant because the baby he is carrying does not say ‘please’

One person said that Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont was a strange tale, ands invited others to share their own examples 

She wrote: ‘It struck me how very odd it is. An elephant takes a baby for a joyride to nick a load of food and then everyone is cross with the baby for not saying please,’ she asked. 

‘Then there’s the Long Slide with the 3 stuffed animals that climb a giant slide, vomit, meet some witches etc and don’t seem to get any pleasure out of the experience.

‘Am I being unreasonable, or were some kids’ books from the past plain bizarre?! Any other good ones people can think of.’

Another mother suggested Conrad the Factory Made Boy by Christine Nöstlinger.

She wrote: ‘Conrad, the boy a single lady ordered. He arrived in a big tin, needed a tin opener to get him out if I remember rightly.’

In Conrad the Factory-Made boy, by Christine Nöstlinger, Conroad arrives naked in a tin and needs to be freed with a tin opener 

In the original version of Love Your Forever, by Robert Munsch, a mother cuddles with her adult son

Marvin, from Marvin Wanted More, is a hungry sheep that cannot stop eating, and ends up eating the world 

One parent said they found the ‘goodnight nobody’ from Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown to be ‘nihilistic’ 

Another said of Changes by Anthony Browne: ‘It’s kind of about a boy who appears to be having hallucinations. He’s been told by his parents that “things are going to change”.

‘He’s at home on his own and all the furniture started turning into animals. Then at the end his mum comes home with his new baby sister – and that’s the change they were talking about. It’s really odd.’ 

A third said of Marvin Wanted More by Joseph Theobald: ‘My son used to love it. A sheep is hungry so it eats the whole world. Then it realises it is lonely so it vomits it all back up again and everything is good again albeit a bit upside down.’

‘I’ll put forward Love You Forever by Robert Munsch,’ another said.  ‘So many people find it moving and very emotional but it just gives me the creeps. I had a copy as a child and found it weird then. 

‘The very controlling mother of someone I know gave them a copy as an adult and that was the final nail in the coffin of me loathing it!! The mother crawling in the bedroom window to rock her adult son to sleep.’  

People said the Giant Jam Sandwich by Janet Burroway and John Vernon Lord is a weird read and that Marvin Wanted More, by Joseph Theobald is also strange 

Parents said Love you Forever by Robert Munsch was creepy rather than emotional and one cited Big Biscuit, a story about a boy who eats so many biscuits he becomes one himself 

Another post read: ‘The Wolf and the Seven Kids used to give me nightmares! Mother goat goes out, wolf eats 6 of her kids, goes for a nap,’ one recounted about the Grim Brothers’ fairy tale of The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats. 

‘Mother goat comes back, remaining kid tells her what happened. Mother goat cuts open wolfs stomach with scissors finds her kids alive. 

‘Gets the kids to get some stones puts stones in wolfs belly, sews him up.  Wolf wakes up feels thirsty goes to a Well falls in drowns, everyone is very happy.’  

Changes, by Anthony Browne and Pipi Longstocking also have disturbing plot points worth mentioning 

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