20 Bad Books To Give To Young Kids

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An excerpt from Mister Dog (Image via Western Publishing Company, Inc.)

16. Mister Dog

There’s nothing outright horrifying or wrong going on in Mister Dog. As far as I know, there haven’t been any challenges brought against this book, either. Why would anyone fight this book? On the surface, it’s a charming tale of an independent dog who makes friends with a similarly independent little boy. What’s wrong with that?

While there’s nothing wrong with the story itself, it’s more the presentation that seems off somehow. Indeed, the inability to quite name the problems with this book are what creep me out more than anything. It feels almost like the beginning of a creepypasta in which we’ve all hallucinated the existence of an apparently harmless Golden Book.

Mister Dog tells the tale of Crispin’s Crispian, a dog so named because “he belonged to himself”. Crispin’s Crispian has all-black eyes and shuffles around his house – because, yes, of course, why wouldn’t a dog have his own house – while making breakfast. He is a “funny old dog” because he likes strawberries, and not because he can speak, wear clothes, or has the ability to stare into your soul.

He travels to a land full of dogs, then a land full of cats and rabbits, and we almost start to believe he’s a normal dog as he gallivants about with other animals. Then, he meets a boy (never named) and invites him back to his dog-home. The boy, seemingly without parents, follows this strange talking dog around. Crispin’s Crispian feeds him “bone soup” and lets the boy sleep in the bedroom with him. Then the book… just sort of ends.

What happened to the boy? Did he ever have a family? Who taught Crispin’s Crispian to talk and cook his terrifying bone soup? We may never know.