Don’t let your kids go nuts! Stand with Headmaster Graeme Whiting of Acorn School!
The Last Bookstore and Dwarf+Giant are forced – by the sound reasoning of HM Whiting in his eye-opening, epoch-making web-log posting which you simply must read if you care about the mental health of your children – to admit that such sensational books as we are known to sell (Tolkien, Rowling, Pratchett, etc.) are both highly addictive and likely to do irrevocable brain damage to young people.
The fact that we have allowed young people to peruse and purchase these books without even any kind of special reading license – well, we just… we just can hardly look at ourselves in the mirror.
Boy, do we feel bad – like, really guilty. Ashamed, even.
We don’t want your children to exhibit “difficult behavior”, and if they already do – please forgive us for promoting such difficulty-inducing “popular” books like the Discworld series from Terry Pratchett and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games with that alarmingly tenacious and resourceful female character or the ones with those demonic little hobbits who potter around gardens and eat pot pies or – oh god, we’re just so terribly sorry…
As HM Whiting helpfully suggests, surely your children would be much better off with more wholesomely beautiful books. He recommends Shelley or Shakespeare, for instance. Yes, exactly: a book about making a living creature from assorted bits of cadaver sewn together and shot thru with lightning, or maybe a stage play where a couple of teen agers kill their way towards double-suicide – yes, these “old-fashioned values” are what we stand for, right-alongside, though perhaps one respectful step behind, HM Whiting.
Ok, so, from now on, if you foolishly want your child (until age 14, the earliest point at which they have “thinking brains”) to read “mystical and frightening texts” like The Hobbit or The Hunger Games, then they must present the below affixed “Special Reading License” we had drafted by one of our interns. (We didn’t have much time to look it over, but the intern is really top-notch, so we trust it covers all the bases.) We just really want to be certain that you have thought this thru and ourselves would like to be absolved of any culpability in the undoubtedly speedy descent of your poor son or daughter into the maelstrom of mental anguish and fear. (Pot pies! Archery! Talking hats!) Without this “Special Reading License” your child will not be allowed to purchase said books. By their tears we will not be moved, for their dear sakes, you wretched excuse for a parent.
Please read the following agreement carefully before printing both it AND the card you will find below. Sign them both. (Also, laminating would be nice.) Keep the agreement for your records but mail us a copy or drop one off, notarized. Give the card to your precious little one, and make sure they have it with them when they do any book shopping. Or just drop them off at Social Services, where they will probably be better off anyway, if you’re going to allow them to read such “literature”.
Note that no child buying a sensationalist book will receive a free bookmark. It may be your right to allow it, but we will not willingly encourage their fraternization with such ne’er do wells as Oxford Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE or Sir Terrence Pratchett, OBE, and their ilk. Those rascals.
SPECIAL READING LICENSE AGREEMENT
FOR THE PURCHASE AND/OR PERUSAL OF SENSATIONALIST, FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION OR POPULAR-TYPE LITERATURE FOR THOSE CHILDREN UNDER THE DELICATE AGE OF FOURTEEN YEARS
I, [your name], hapless parent of [child’s name], do hereby authorize the following:
– Browsing and/or purchase of sensationalist or fantasy-type literature including but not limited to that of authors Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin, Terry Pratchet, et al.
– Development of enthusiastic fandom and voracious consumption of any and all forms of the above literature, with the possible exception of the George RR Martin material, which can be a bit racy, and therefore will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis by I, the parent. Any Headmaster of any school or any librarian or any bookshop employee from any organization shall have f*ck-all to say about it, since I am the parent, dammit.
– Summary dismissal by my child of the opinions of any Headmaster or adult of any type who asserts that Shakespeare is more age-appropriate for my youngster than mofo’ing JRR Tolkien, who was a muthaflippin’ Boy Scout, if you know anything about him at all, with stories and characters espousing the highest standards of human behaviour. Shakespeare’s plays – while certainly the pinnacle of English literature – are rife with every vice and sin known to man, and then some. My child is hereby authorized to ignore those so light of brain as to suggest otherwise.
– Solicitation of book recommendations by my child from any well-read friend, teacher, librarian, bookseller, book aficionado or super-rad Bookstore Intern, providing the intentions of those recommendations are for the enrichment and healthy stimulation of my child’s heart, mind, soul and imagination.
(parental signature) (date)
As a last ditch effort to save these precious blossoms of your very loins, may we urge you to read Titus Andronicus aloud to them? Just you see how their eyes brighten and their spirits lift! If you still insist on destroying your child’s mind, give them the card and bid farewell as they begin their journey towards mental armageddon. You are a terrible human being.