Last night I read Tom Thumb to my kids before bed. First recognize that I am showing off that I found the time and some semblance of order to actually read to my kids before bed – so right there I get a gold star.
Tom Thumb is the smallest of seven kids : Right here we start to wonder is it because he is not getting sufficient nutrition and this has affected his growth. Did his mom smoke and drink heavily during her pregnancy? Did she not have this boy checked regularly at the clinic? Are his parents of a faith that does not condone birth control? Can his mom just so no for once?
His parents realize that they do not have enough money to feed the children so decide to leave them in a forest nearby: Why could his dad not have got a second job, because clearly this woodcutter gig was not working out for him? Surely if you can’t feed your kids, leaving them to starve to death or get ravished by animals in the middle of a dense wood does beg questions regarding your ability to parent and make mildly good decisions.
Tom, being the clever lad that he is, makes it home by dropping stones on the path. All 7 kids get home and the parents are disappointed as they will have to take them out to the woods again tomorrow: I really was amazed at this turn in the story. Surely if you have dropped your kids off in the woods to die, you are not just going to skip home and go to sleep. Surely you are going to drink a little, maybe be a little depressed, nope not these two. Mr and Ms Thumb are cut from a very resilient cloth.
On the next jaunt into the woods, Tom leaves bread crumbs as a track back to his house: He unfortunately did not learn anything from his mate Hansel (which might further allude to his mom drinking while she was pregnant with him, which may be the cause of his not-so-fast-learning speed.) No crumbs = no way to get home Tom his 6 siblings can’t get home, so knock on the door to a house out in the forest. Again clearly Tom and Hansel are not Facebooking or Twittering each other. Tom has no idea that a house in the middle of the woods often spells doom and the sound of children being eaten.
Cut a long story short, there is an Ogre who eats kids (I can’t believe this is what we read to our kids when we are trying to get them to go to sleep – night terrors begin here). The Ogre has magic boots so in one step he can go seven leagues (no I do not know how far seven leagues is, but I imagine pretty far). Tom steals the boots, him and his siblings escape and run back to his parents. The same parents who abandoned them twice!!
Said parents are really happy to see Tom (and his magic boots) so happy in fact that they send him out to be the Kings Messenger – as the boots allow Tom to travel quickly. The book ends with a happy picture of Tom who is holding lots of money.
What the hell happened in this story?
- Parents abandoned kids twice.
- Children went into a stranger’s house and ate food.
- Ogre-who-eats-kids came home and chased kids.
- Ogre fell asleep – as you do when you are chasing kids.
- Smallest child steals boots and take siblings back home to parents.
- Parents send youngest off to work to support the family
The issues I have with this book are: bad parenting, abandoning children, lazy parenting, no internet access for youngest, threat of being ravished by wild animals, stranger-danger, stealing from others and child labour.
I am planning to read Cinderella next …..