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On my Belated Mommy blog, I get snarky about a book from the 1940s.

Woofus: A (Justifiably) Forgotten Children’s Book

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
halfshellvenus
Oct. 18th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
Ummm... there are a lot of suspicious parallels in that book, I must say, especially because of the random dislike/mocking of so many of them.

Woofus (Rufus!) sounds like a standard poodle, TBH. Is that SO very strange?

I'm both curious and possibly horrified to find out how the book ends. :O
alycewilson
Oct. 18th, 2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I didn't come up with the Woofus/Rufus connection. You would think that with the number of courses I took in African-American literature and the accompanying information about culturally insensitive language, I would have picked up on that. The use of the word "woolly" to describe his fur particularly made me feel squicky.

Woofus does rather look like a badly drawn Standard Poodle, although how he was born to a litter of Golden Retriever puppies is a mystery. Perhaps the stork got the order wrong?

You will indeed be horrified by what happens just a couple of pages hence. Not so much in terms of action (since there's blessed little of that, perhaps due to the limitations of the artist). However, I did reach a point where I opted for self-censorship because I simply refused to read the words on the page, as written.

Let's just say the racism gets somewhat less... subtle.

i_smell_apples
Oct. 19th, 2013 07:20 am (UTC)
It's funny, because I have a sneaking feeling I read that book when I was little, or at least something very similar to it... and to me it kind of highlights the difference between our countries, because we don't have the same history as you guys so for us it IS just an innocent tale about a "black sheep underdog" with no racist undertones LOL
alycewilson
Oct. 19th, 2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
At this point in the story, it does seem a bit like I'm reading too much in it. But trust me: it gets worse!
miranda_lane
Oct. 20th, 2013 03:28 am (UTC)
The part about how Woofus says "woof" and the other dogs say "bow wow" made me think of this comedy routine by Brian Regan where he criticizes the descriptions of animal noises from children's books.

Here's the clip. It's not really great quality (somebody just video-ed their TV and insisted on putting a tag in the middle of the screen to have you comment and subscribe) but it's a minute and a half of pure genius. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWfYoB33eH4

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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