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'Bad Little Children’s Books' Covers Are Just That

Bad Little Children’s Books is a collection of illustrator and author, Arthur C. Gackley’s subversive and comedic children’s book covers.

by Nathaniel Ainley
31 August 2016, 6:45pm

Bad Little Children's Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley © Abrams Image, 2016

An illustrated collection of children’s book covers takes the safety scissors to contemporary adult issues. Armed with a craft knife, glue paste, and duct tape, late illustrator and author, Arthur C. Gackley would over time piece together what now stands as Bad Little Children’s Books, out this September via Abrams Image. Inserting his own style of dark subversive comedy onto what were previously innocent children’s stories, Gackley didn't just make the covers, he actually wrote fully realized stories for titles including Can You Still Breathe, Grandma?, The Butt Ventriloquist, and Time To Feed The Piranha, although sadly, none of them were ever published. In an introductory passage to Bad Little Children’s Books, the editors quote an entry from Gackley’s diary, penned in 1964: “Those smug, elitist editors in New York wouldn’t merely judge my covers, they were so horrified by them that the bastards would never even bother to turn to page two!”

Bad Little Children's Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley © Abrams Image, 2016

37 years later, the executor of Gackley’s estate, Schlomo J. Flaffstein, has managed to publish 120 of Gackley’s shameless cover pages. With titles like The Botched Facelift and Peeping Tommy Goes Cougar Hunting, Gackley sneeringly suggests the childish nature of things considered exclusive to the realm of adulthood. The editors write, “Ultimately, they divide us as a society, stimulate queasiness, stir up uncomfortable gasps of incredulity and in the end cause the reader to ask “WTF?” Decide for yourself, below: 

Bad Little Children's Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley © Abrams Image, 2016

Bad Little Children's Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley © Abrams Image, 2016

Bad Little Children's Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley © Abrams Image, 2016

Bad Little Children's Books: KidLit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley © Abrams Image, 2016

Click here for more information about the book.

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Tagged:
comedy
Illustration
cover
Satire
parody
Arthur C. Gackley
Bad Little Children’s Books
Peeping Tommy Goes Cougar Hunting
Schlomo J. Flaffstein
The Botched Facelift
title