First off, I want the world to know that the uber-literate proprietress of this blog is currently watching the America's Top Model finale and saying things like "CarrieDee's gonna lose; she's an actress, not a model."
Highbrow, I tells ya.
In that spirit, I bring you Shel Silverstein's Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only. I'd always heard Uncle Shelby didn't actually like small children very much, and that he hung out at the Playboy Mansion quite a bit when he wasn't writing A Light in the Attic or The Codependent Tree or whatever. Rereading the ABZ book, originally published in the pages of Playboy, it all makes sense.
What can I say about a book that ends by telling the young reader that the pages are really made of paper candy, one that points out that the fireman in his Red hat with his Red engine (all of which are super keen) only come to houses where there are fires?
Uncle Shelby really goes the extra mile here, writing not just a ribald or snarky primer but one that leaves him open for several wrongful death lawsuits. It has a coupon inside for a free pony, redeemable at your local grocer. In short, it's great fun, and giving it to a niece or nephew for Christmas will secure you "favored relative" status among your younger kin. Quicker, even, than teaching them swears or how to make sparkler bombs will.
I'll leave you with this quote, the last line of which has become an all-purpose consolation around our house.
"O is for Oz.
Do you want to visit the wonderful far-off land of oz where the wizard lives and scarecrows can dance and the road is made of yellow bricks and everything is emerald green?
Well, you can't because there is no land of Oz and there is no tin woodsman and THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS!
Maybe someday you can go to Detroit."
PS: Oh, and CarrieDee just won. Shows what Mary knows.