“Dad, there was a book in our cereal” are seven words I haven’t heard in a very long time, at least in that order. But it happened today. They don’t put things in cereal like they did when I was a kid. If you couldn’t dump out your Count Chocula and find the plastic fangs that turn you into a Choc-u-holic vampire, you weren’t going through a normal childhood. Of course, many spankings ensued.
But that story is for another day. Today I’m talking about the book I received in our family’s Cheerios box. I didn’t even know people put prizes in cereal boxes anymore.
Apparently they still don’t.
It came in a slick, clear plastic bag so the unsuspecting cereal eater can view the cover of this literary trove in all its splendor.
Yeah. That’s about all I got.
Not convinced? Let me quote the opening paragraph:
William the Absolute Youngest galloped through the enchanted village of Santoff Clause on the back of a large Warrior Egg, a gift from E. Aster Bunnymund. “I can’t stop or I’ll be scrambled!” he shouted over his shoulder to his friend Fog. In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had lost a point.
His green glasses and BDSM gimp collar just shout “EAT MORE CHEERIOS!” and then they shout “OR YOUR DOOM BE SEALED THIS MORNING! (part of this complete breakfast…)”
OK, I admit a childhood fear of all things costumed and clownlike. Other than needles, it’s still the one fear that makes me shiver and change channels if it’s on TV. But still… what parent wouldn’t find this bunny zombie just the thing to revert their children back to bedwetting?
And what’s with the Tooth-based land? There’s something vaguely… dunno… dreamland creepy about teeth, and missing them, and having them pulled. Like they combined the worst of Kafka and Dali, threw it in a blender with a Goosebumps novel and a handful of Cheerios-based unicorn vomit (now with *sparkles*!), and pasted it back together with the deftness that only General Mills can accomplish.
There’s a remote chance that Charles Dickens got his big break when he published his first cereal-based novella. Little Orphan Annie became popular when Ovaltine came along to sponsor her.
Can Cheerios pull off the same wonder with Toothiana? Yeah. I don’t think so. If anything, it’ll make people avoid the cereal, on the chance they’ll never evereverever have to see one of these books again.
I think Constant Reader (a pseudonym of Dorothy Parker) said it best, when she explained Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh novel” with this four-word review. I steal her words here, and agree wholeheartedly: “Tonstant Weader Frowed Up.”
Oh. Be sure & eat your Cheerios. It’s gonna tempt your tummy.
[Update: I was told that the author, William Joyce, is also the creator of the Disney show for tots, “Roly Poly Olie.” Does this exonerate him? Well, can I say congratulations on also being the first guy to make kids afraid of basic geometric figures? He may or may not be related to James Joyce. I’m betting not.]