Can you guess how much I want to punch you in the crotch right now, Big Nutbrown Hare!!
Picture books reactions from incredulous adults, Vol. 1
For most of my career as a bookseller and librarian I have heard the following thing from men and women alike: “Oh, you just HAVE to read Guess How Much I Love You!” they all swoon. “It’s just the SWEETEST!” I tend to shy away from books about how much a parent loves a child, mostly because I imagine they are all read aloud in a dramatic interpretation by Joey Tribbiani.
I figured the story-time parents wouldn’t take too kindly to my Matt LeBlanc impersonation any more than they did to my take on Goodnight Moon read-sung by a drunken Doris Day (don’t fight me — it’s AWESOME). Turns out most parents just want you to read nice books that will make them say “Awwwwwww!” as their children look around aimlessly with one entire fist up their tiny nostril.
Then, I had a child. Reading Guess How Much I Love You was inevitable.
Now, because of my out-of-control lady hormones, I will cry at almost anything. Just the other day I saw a motorcycle gang wearing pink feminist shirts and almost lost my shit. It was ugly. “They’re…SOB CHOKE….motorcycles and…BEARDS…sob, choke…our future as women…IT’S SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!”
But this book did not tickle my mommy bone. What it did do was transport me into a veritable gladiator ring in which a father is forcing his OWN SON into a preternatural competition that will likely last until that son hits puberty and is old enough to kick his old man’s ass.
Check this shit out:
Two rabbits, a father and son, recline in a meadow as the son is getting ready for bed. “Guess how much I love you?” the adorable little bunny asks, and then stretches his arms out wide. “This much!”
This little cutie is Little Nutbrown Hare. Remember him, and if you feel so inclined, donate to his gofundme for the years of bunny therapy he will surely need for being forced into the aforementioned preternatural competition with his father.
In response, his father (aptly named Big Nutbrown Hare) stretches his much longer arms out and says “Well, I love you THIS much!”, which I have translated to: “Yeah, bitch?! Well, I love you THIS much! Try and grow longer arms, d-bag. Wait — y’can’t because you’re just a little kid. Hahahahaaaaa!”
Not to be deterred, Little Nutbrown Hare claims that he loves his father as high as he can reach.
Oh, sweetie. That’s not going to cut it.
“Well, I love you as high as I as I can reach!” Big Nutbrown Hare says, stretching his gargantuan adult male arms up in the air, virtually deflating every dream his son has ever had.
Now, what happens next? If you guess that Little Nutbrown Hare is finally vindicated by his father accepting the measurement of his love as the right amount, you’d be DEAD WRONG.
This poor little bunny, who I am now convinced we will find years from now in an erotic bunny version of “Thunder Down Under” in Vegas (of course, called “Thumper Down Under,” insists that he loves his dad all the way to his toes, which is clearly super far and Big Nutbrown Hare should just leave it at that, right? RIGHT?
“Yeah, well guess what?” Big Nutbrown Dick (note: Yes, I did originally try to write “Big Dick Hare” but quickly saw the problem) says. “I can toss you up in the air with my ripped AF Zac Efron arms so I am not only taking the lead, but usurping your toes to do it.”
It is at this point that I start plotting Big Nutbrown Hare’s murder. It’s less of a violent Kill Bill/Saw type murder and more of a quiet, cleaning your glasses afterwards murder. Like that moment I find disturbingly sexy when Giles smothers the human version of Glory on Buffy.
It would have to be poison. Cliche, yes, but I don’t know if I could pull that Giles-smothering thing off. Of course, afterwards I would have to adopt Little Nutbrown Hare. It would be a difficult transition. My daughter would have to grow accustomed to a rabbit sibling, but it would work…
Little Nutbrown Hare: “I love you as high as I can hop!”
How do parents like this book? Am I being pranked? Is there a Venn Diagram that exists somewhere that says “Parents” on one side and “Clueless” on the other, and in the middle it just says “Loves ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ and ‘The Giving Tree’?”
Oh, yeah. Don’t even get me STARTED about The Giving Tree. Basically, every unrealistic expectation of mothers is because of that book, and I love Where the Sidewalk Ends, but GODDAMN if The Giving Tree didn’t ruin everything. The tree is a stump. A STUMP.
Anyhow, what follows in the rest of this tragedy is a series of escalating attempts on Little Nutbrown Hare’s part to get the last word in love quantity. All are deftly smashed by Big Nutbrown Hare, and my murder plan is getting more elaborate.
Then, Little Nutbrown Hare comes up with the perfect solution. He says he loves his father to the MOON.
What are you gonna say to that, asshole? You love him to Jupiter’s moons? To the end of the galaxy? WHAT?
Ohhhhh, you dirty motherfucker. You did it. You ruined your child, and I was forced to not only bear witness to it, but read it to my own child with a cringe that would put every Chrissy Teigen cringing GIF to SHAME.
Well, I’m off. My murder plot is really coming together (new idea: EVIL FLAMINGOS … and maybe a heist?) and I have to start a 529 for Little Nutbrown Hare so he can have the future he deserves. Hey, unrelated question: how does one get poison into a carrot?
Have any more murder ideas for me? Comment below!
And if you feel inclined to read more from me, you can find my “hilarious” cancer survival tale here, my Nancy Drew Review Project on Blogger and my writing in fiction form in Suspense Magazine and The Sleuth. Also, follow me on Medium, Instagram, and also Twitter even though it’s garbage.
Thanks for reading!