Thanks to my friend, Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist, for having me on her Character Assassination Carousel today! It’s a really fun series where we shine a spot light on all the crazy being presented to our children every day via kiddie lit. Like this little gem Nick brought home the other day…
What happened next was on me. I should have read the book myself first, but I didn’t.
I trusted a character we knew and the PBS sticker on the front of the book and I dove right in.
It started innocently enough…
Arthur is excited because his birthday is just days away. Hey, me too! (My birthday is this Thursday. I take presents in the form of chocolate and free babysitting.)
He takes his party invitations to school to hand them out to the kids in his class. His second grade class. We can infer this because Arthur is turning 8 during the school year. Arthur mentions inviting one girl to his party, Francine.
Francine immediately asks if they can play Spin the Bottle because, apparently, Francine is the whore of the whole second grade.
At this point my eyebrows were raised and my 4-year-old asked what “spin the bottle” meant, but we trudged onward in the name of literacy.
But oh no! Muffy’s party is going to be on the same day.
Arthur’s party or Muffy’s? It’s quite the quagmire.
The boys very reasonably discuss the situation at recess and decide to stick together. They are smiling and supportive of their friend. Meanwhile, the girls PMS all over the jungle gym. Muffy channels her inner Future Real Housewife and assertively declares, “Anyone who doesn’t come to my party can’t be my friend,” while Francine laments the lack of boys, just as every hormonally-charged seven-year-old should.
Shhhh….we’re coming up on my favorite part.
The part where all the second graders are left unsupervised after school and Francine asks one of life’s most important philosophical questions.
I mean, truly, what IS a party without boys? Especially when you are 7 going on 8. Or 18. You pick. We can’t ask Francine because she and Arthur are busy canoodling behind a fence.
Luckily, all that canoodling led to the ingenious plan to lie to all of their friends and forge Muffy’s handwriting on notes to other people. We can’t be sure why they need to forge Muffy’s handwriting since it turns out that Muffy is actually the one they are trying to surprise. One would think that we shouldn’t make it look like she is part of the plan, just in case one of those friends who received the fake note from “Muffy” tried to talk to her about it. Also, why are we trying to move everything to Arthur’s house? Muffy’s place is gigantic and she’s already told us she has a rock band lined up. Don’t think about it too hard. There’s no room for logic in this tree house. The pheromones are taking up too much space. Just look at Francine’s face. She can’t resist that musky little aardvark. I also like the not-so-subtly placed love birds over the Keep Out sign. Classy.
Still without any adult supervision, Arthur and Francine sneak around the neighborhood at the butt crack of dawn committing all kinds of federal offenses: tampering with mail, forgery, trespassing…it’s all in good fun.
Check out that note Arthur left for Muffy. “Dear Muffy, I have a special present for you. It is so big…Please come to my house at noon today to get it.” Ahem.
Lest we forget that it is Arthur’s birthday, we are told that three birthday cards come in the mail. He only opens one. The one with the money in it. Priorities, people. Get some. Arthur’s gonna need those dollar bills if he continues spending all that time with Francine.
Finally, all of their friends arrive, confused. Nobody knows how they got there. Turns out those “surprise packages” in their mailboxes may have been laced with roofies and chloroform. There’s no time for questions, Muffy is on her way!
Ain’t no party like a boy/girl party and these animals will go to great lengths to rock out co-ed style. Especially our favorite little skanky ferret.
Look at her being all coy as she hands Arthur that big ol’ box. “You have to promise me you’ll use it right away.”
Let’s just try to ignore the fact that Buster is blowing a phallic party favor right at this moment.
What could it be?
Am I the only one who is hearing Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg singing something about something in a box right now?
A personalized Spin the Bottle game!
Just what every eight-year-old needs.
Sleep tight, kids! Now please excuse me while I bleach my eyeballs and brush my teeth because I just threw up in my mouth a little.
*Unfortunately, this is an actual book that my son really did bring home from the school library during the third week of kindergarten. Let credit go where it is due. All photos represented come from the book Arthur’s Birthday (An Arthur Adventure)by Marc Brown. It’s available on Amazon, where they recommend that this book is appropriate for ages 3-6. Gag me with a spoon.