Sugar, spice and everything nice? Not my kids. In these rhymes, bad kids get it good. (And hopefully learn a lesson, too.)
Why "Fairy Tales for Rotten Children?"
Even good kids behave badly. "Fairy Tales for Rotten Children" illustrates the consequences of unacceptable behavior in a way that won't give them nightmares or make them think they are unloved, but still drives home the point that actions have consequences and these consequences can suck.
In terms of tone and style, "The Stinky Cheese Man," Lemony Snickets and classic Grimm fairy tales come to mind.
What will the money be used for?
The goal is to raise $8500 to hire two illustrators to do the next two books. (Illustrations for "Stinky Billy," the first story, were already done by a Hong Kong-based artist named Tito Justo.) If there is anything left over after that, I will put it towards e-book production, illustrations for books #4 and #5 and www.fairytalesforrottenchildren.com, which is currently being revised by friends as a favor.
Why do I think I can pull this off?
I've been a professional writer and producer for 25 years, working on a variety of print, video and interactive projects for multiple divisions of almost every major media company in the U.S -- I've done a lot of stuff for Disney, so this is kind of unDisney.
How many "Fairy Tales for Rotten Children" are there?
I have written five so far -- "Stinky Billy," "The Angry Alphabet," "Hateful/ungrateful," "Little Miss Rotten," and "Liar!" -- and have notes on a half--dozen others. Ideally, however, I would like to open this series up to other writers for no other reason than I would like to read -- and read to my kids -- the stories other creative people come up with.
Are there samples?
Here is the copy for the two "Fairy Tales for Rotten Children" I would like to have illustrated using Kickstarter. (Be warned, "Hateful/ungrateful" usually makes mom's cry.)
"The Angry Alphabet"
"A" is for Anger,
mine's starting to grow.
Because "B" is for Bedtime,
but you scream "I won't go!"
“C” ‘s for the ocean
of frustration I feel.
“D” ‘s my Disgust,
which I just can’t conceal.
“E” ‘s for Excuses,
yours never run out.
And when they don’t work?
You whine and you pout.
So “F” is for “Fine!
You wanna act this way?”
“G” is for “Good,
I’ve got somethin’ to say.”
“H” is How bratty
and selfish you can be.
Because “I” is the only one
you can see.
“J” is for Judgement,
which I’ll render right now.
As I list your offenses:
who, what, when and how.
“K” is for the Kick
that I just saw you do.
“L” is for lies,
tell one more and you’re through.
“M” is for your Mouth,
and the way you demand.
“N” is for “No,”
which you don’t understand.
“O” is for the Outrage,
you so often express:
“Oh my God!,” “I hate you!”
“It isn’t my mess!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?”
“P” ‘s for “a Pain.”
You are; it’s a fact.
“Q” is for Questioning,
without end, without tact.
“R” is for Rest,
which you won’t let me get.
“S” is for Screaming,
every time you’re upset.
“T” is for Tantrum,
which to my dismay
you throw without warning,
when you don’t get your way.
“U” is Unfair,
which I don’t want to be,
but “V” is the Verdict.
What it is, you'll soon see.
“W” is the Way,
I reviewed each offense,
putting “X” beside “guilty”
’cause it made the most sense.
But “Y” you might ask!
“Oh, how can this be?
I’ve been framed, I swear.
Please don’t convict me!”
Relax. Take a moment.
Before I pass sentence.
There’s one letter left:
Is it R for repentance?
It’s “Z” as in craZy,
since that’s how it looks,
to give you a pardon,
(just like they give crooks).
Yes, you are rotten,
I can’t excuse what you did.
But this time I’ll forgive you,
‘cause you are my kid.
But don’t push it.
“I hate you! I hate you! I wish you were dead!
You’re mean and unfair!” said the boy as he fled.
He was sick of his parents, their yelling, their shouts,
the way they “abused” him, with all those time-outs.
Out the back door he ran, as fast as he could,
thinking only one thought: “I’ll show ‘em real good.”
He jumped over the fence, and took off down the street,
nothing could stop him, not even bare feet.
He ran with abandon, going left and then right.
He kept going and going, until day turned to night.
“How they’ll miss me!” he thought, with glee and elation,
“They’ll be sad and depressed! They’ll need medication!”
He cut through an alley, climbed over a wall,
headed straight for the heart of the great urban sprawl.
“Just a little bit further! I’ve got to keep going.”
But the pain in his feet, was rapidly growing.
Each step was like fire, burning and hot,
his blisters got blisters, his toes became rot.
So he slowed to a stop, let his lungs fill with air,
said “I’ve gone far enough!” (though he didn’t know where).
He was so far away, he’d never be found.
Not by his parents, or a well-trained bloodhound.
But if he felt joy, he wasn’t aware.
‘cause this place he was at, was like a scary nightmare.
It was crumbling and dirty, as if left for dead.
A place full of terrors that filled him with dread.
He saw strangers in shadows, like demons from Hell.
He heard ominous shrieking, and a ghastly ghost-yell.
From deep down inside, came a slow, silent swelling,
a feeling of “DANGER!” What kind? There’s no telling.
So he started to cry. What else could he do?
There was nowhere to run, no adults to turn to.
He slumped to the ground, alone and afraid,
regretting completely, the choice that he’d made.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I made a mistake.”
Then his heart filled with sorrow, and started to ache.
“Never oh never, will I run away.
Or let out my anger! Or again disobey!”
“Good,” said his mother, limping up by his side,
her own bare feet throbbing, from the long run outside.
“Run away if you want, but one thing you should know.
I’ll watch over you always, wherever you go.”
“But enough is enough. You must change your ways.
You must show me respect. And do it always.”
Then she hugged him most tightly, as tight as she could.
And they both hobbled off, the truth understood.
At home he was grounded for the rest of the year.
But he didn’t complain: “Worse places than here!”
Then later that night, feeling safe as can be,
he thanked God for his mom, “She really loves me.”
What about inspiration?
The inspiration for both the series and the stories that make it up comes from my kids, my friends' kids, kids I've worked with professionally over the years, books I've read and my imagination.
What do I think of "Go the F**K to Sleep?
It's great but not for everyone. (I read it to my oldest kid, but not to my youngest kid because he can't stand it when I curse.)
Any final thoughts?
I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read through this and, especially, those who choose to support "Fairy Tales for Rotten Children." (I also apologize for any typo's -- proof-reading is just not my strength.)
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.