Author John Burningham’s first children’s book was Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers (1963). And I read it! (Not in 1963, though.)
So I sat up and took notice when Mr. Burningham spoke up (here, in The Independent) about how kids’ lives have been getting progressively worse. In his words:“I was lucky in that I did experience a hell of a lot of stuff. That's the terrible thing about being young in 2009. There are so many restrictions. All that running wild, and playing, and doing dangerous things, you can't do it, you really can't do it. It's 'Don't go out in the field [it might be risky.]”This article came to mind because I recently got an e-mail from an adult who was shocked (SHOCKED!) to find that there is a reference to matches in The Pocket Guide to Boy Stuff. Among this person’s questions: “Was this book scrutinized by fire safety experts, pediatric professionals, burn unit emergency doctors?”
I was able to respond that the passage in question had been vetted by a state fire safety expert and a police officer who does safety training with kids. Further, I was able to provide review blurbs like this one from FamilyFun Magazine: “The author, a seasoned middle-school teacher, puts a premium on safety and common sense (the chapter on explosives, for example, has the most thoroughly convincing lecture on firework safety we've ever read).”
To no avail; a one-star reader review by the person in question was promptly meted out on-line. Ouchie! You see, the pocket guide also included a recipe for “hand-grenades.” These use baking soda and vinegar, a potent combo generating all the raw power of plastique explosives! (Oh wait, they only fizz over. But still.)
So at the moment, I’m nodding along with John Burningham. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before all family households are equipped with the device to the left. It’ll make accidents less likely, and the pain won’t hurt as much if they do occur! PediSedate product description follows:PediSedate is a medical device consisting of a colorful, toy-like headset that connects to a game component such as the Nintendo Game Boy system or a portable CD player. Once the child places it on his or her head and swings the snorkel down from its resting place atop the head, PediSedate transparently monitors respiratory function and distributes nitrous oxide, an anesthetic gas. The child comfortably becomes sedated while playing with a Nintendo Game Boy system or listening to music.