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Sweet Books or Gruesome Tales?

Peter Rabbit Cup and SaucerOne of my favorite things to do at the end of a crazy day is to climb into bed with my 3 year old and read him bedtime stories before he goes to sleep.  We are both usually so tired that we fall asleep before we ever get to a third book and my husband has to wake me for dinner, but those moments together reading through the pages, laughing, skipping back and forth from book to book are some of the best.

As he has grown older our repertoire of books has increased and lately I’ve been remembering more and more the stories my parents read to me and in turn I’ve started reading them to my eldest son.  Last night was Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit night. My son got under his covers and I propped up a pillow as I got ready to read…memories abound I was so excited to share these stories with my son.  I barely got past the first page when Peter’s mother said something like run along bunnies but don’t go into Farmer McGregor’s Garden because your father had an accident there and he turned into a pie!

Did mommy Rabbit just tell her wee ones that Daddy was murdered?!  Well, this was not the sweet book I remembered and I have to say that keeps happening to me.  Every time I read an old classic there is some gruesome detail, of which I normally would try so hard to protect my kids from, I certainly would not let them watch such things on TV.

I’m left asking myself the question, have we gone soft shielding our children from too much or are these books from older days from a much harsher time when children were not as understood or as protected?  However, I was never damaged by Peter Rabbit (that I know of!) and the only memories I have of him are fond, so perhaps I am just reading a child’s book through adult eyes and I should stop taking everything so seriously?!  What favorite books from your childhood that you are sharing with your wee ones?

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