From Baby Ebert to Survivalist Sheep: Studies in Crap's First Terrible Coloring Book Round Up
Helping With Bike Safety
Author/Illustrator: Betsey Douglas MacDonald
Date: None given, presumably the '90s
Publisher: American Academy of Pediatrics
The Cover Promises: Bicycle fun with Baby Ebert! Or is it Lil' Cynthia Ozick?
There are some topics pediatricians can be relied upon to know, like the best way to prick a kid with a needle or how to find a good deal on fluffy-cloud wallpaper. But one thing they must never again be trusted with is the production of coloring books about bike safety.
Take a look at that cover: young Michael Moore toodling along on his Huffy, decked out in some suspenders, loafers and khaki skort combo, looking for all the world like he's headed to an Oktoberfest party for employees of Blockbuster Video! And his helmet - is that a rolled-up tube-sock?
That's not even mentioning the mystery of where his seat went.
Clearly, that kid has failed to learn bike safety. I'm guessing the American Academy of Pediatrics bears the blame. After all, their idea of teaching the basics of helmets and hand-signals is to force kids to stare into the laser-eyes of this asexual terror-cyborg from the future.
Here's a familiar hazard: crashing into the universal symbol for prohibited activities.
Anyway, here's another coloring book.
Blue & You: Wild and Wooly Health Tips For Kids
Author: BlueAnn Ewe
Date: None given; presumably within the last ten years
Publisher: Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield
The Cover Promises: Stay in shape, because you're not covered!
Insurance companies want us to believe that they have taught sheep to create coloring books about safety.
They probably say this to make us think their overhead is high. I mean, I've been to at least four petting zoos, and I have come to the conclusion that teaching sheep to do this would cost a lot of time and money. They would probably start with coloring books about something closer to a sheep's experience, like handfuls of tasty pellets, and then work up to safety from there.
The fact that this particular sheep is also into crosstraining just complicates things further.
Anyway, BlueAnn Ewe's ghostwriter warns kids to stay away from strangers.
Another danger: your parents' medication!
Here, BlueAnn explains that you must wait for your parents' permission before you can join the fight against big-government fascism.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield maintains a lively web-site devoted to BlueAnn's safety-related attempts at fun. One page is titled "Comm-ewe-nication."
In a video, she raps about exercise with someone's vague idea of a black person. In another, she and Bill Clinton dressed as Elvis encourage pot-smoking kids to develop a backbone and stand up to peer pressure, which is weird because telling someone to get a backbone is itself peer pressure.
Because kids aren't stupid, none of the pages in any of these books have been colored. Still, somewhere along the line little hands did get to the inside of the back cover of Blue & You:
It's Hamburger Helper, but instead of a creepy mouth it's got five penises and that eye from the back of the dollar.
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[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice's sister paper, The Pitch.]