We love children’s literature for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they allow us to see the good in the world. We’re enchanted by tales of bravery, leadership, and adventure as they remind us of innocence and a time when everything was easy. Some of our favorite children’s writers took a stab at the dark side, though with works that are not suitable for children.
1) An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein
Silverstein gave life to some of the most quirky and beloved poems we might ever know! In this collection of plays, however, he shows us his dark side. Silverstein supposedly wrote hundreds of short plays and skits. 10 are featured in this book with one called “Bus Stop” that features a man and a woman calling each othere crude names.
2) My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
Coming from Roald Dahl, the master of whimsical lore, this is shocking. Oswald Hendryks Cornelius and his sidekick, Yasmin Howcomely, go around the world stealing sperm from the rich and famous to sell to rich women. The goal? Keep the genes of the rich and intelligent going.
3) Wifey by Judy Blume
Sandy Pressman is bored with being a housewife. None of the activities she could be doing interest her. The only thing that does is her affair with her old high school boyfriend.
4) The Seven Lady Godivas by Dr. Seuss
Horses are bad! Lord Godiva was flung from his horse and killed and his seven naked daughters, called the godivas, refuse to wear clothing. Each one vows to never marry, even though they are all courting seven brothers called Peeping, until everyone is warned about the danger of horses.
5) The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler
Known for: A Series of Unfortunate Events
If one can dream up Violet, Klaus, Sunny, Count Olaf and numerous other characters, there’s no doubting that Handler can write anything. Published a year before the first Unfortunate Events book, The Basic Eight is a satire about high school English classes. With her seven friends, Flannery and her clique are known as the Basic Eight. In the end, a series of letters reveal dark secrets and even murder.
6) The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
Known for: Winnie the Pooh
This is definitely a 360 degree turn from Winnie the Pooh. In this story, Mark Ablett is entertaining many house guests when one who has just arrived from Australia has been found shot through the head. Ablett disappears and Tony Gillingham, who just arrived, calls on his friend Bill to investigate. It’s a classic who-done-it.