Thursday, February 9, 2012

#0041: The Great Tricycle Race

Golden Books are a staple of my childhood. My closet was lined with the suckers, and I vaguely remember the magical adventures they took me on. Yeah, I’d like to say I vividly remember them, but upon constructing that sentence, I realised the sad truth that I really don’t remember them that well. Certainly, this isn’t meant to be a slight on their quality; they’re damned good children’s books, it’s just… my mind is instead filled with memories of playing Donkey Kong Country while listening to the Beach Boys. Yup. Nobody at Golden Books bothered to write a story about that one, though.

You have different kinds of book for different age groups, as the child’s mind is a rapidly evolving thing. When you’re a toddler, all you care about is colours, shapes and Elmo. Then, you suddenly learn about morals like sharing and being polite. Next, you progress onto characters you can relate to, often rebelling against the system. Then, you’re plowing through novels about Japanese school kids killing each other. Finally, all you care about is colours, shapes and Elmo.

It’s a beautiful cycle. And here, we have a beautiful tricycle. That was certainly no scooter, but it was in fact, a segue way. But enough with the verbal gymnastics and terrible puns. We have serious business to attend to, in the form of P.J. Funnybunny in The Great Tricycle Race.

Unlike the beloved RoboBugs of yesteryear, I’m not going to take you on a page by page journey from start to finish, because I can’t particularly commit to doing that every time I want to jettison a book. Also, I’m pretty sure there are messy legal connotations in such. The people at Sight ‘n’ Sound are surely hunting me down as we speak. Undoubtedly, if I were to come upon Connie "Awesome" Kash in the street, I’d be as good as dead. I have strange enemies, it seems.

To condense (because 23 pages often need to be condensed), the sub-titular P.J. Funnybunny is feeling particularly emo one night. When confronted about this by his parents, who typically use finger screws to gain such information, P.J. confesses that he desperately wants to enter and win the Great Turtle Creek Tricycle Race. The prize is immortality. The punishment, severe. Like Mortal Kombat fatality severe.

P.J. fears that his sub-par tricycle skills will not be enough to claim victory, because his opponents are fierce; a beaver, a pig, a raccoon and a ducky. It’s like the daily battles of a hungry Canadian.

However, his family is not so fretful. They will train for a solid week, and P.J. will win! For the honour of the name Funnybunny!

I like the domestic situation going on in the background there. “If you lose, Potts Pig, I will fucking destroy you.

And that’s where we’ll leave it. Because that’s half the book, and I’ve shown my cards more than intended. I don’t need the Golden thugs to be on my ass. They’re more powerful than the mayor of Albuquerque, even.

So hey, it’s a good book. I think the kids of my fiancé’s grade two class might gain something from it. I don’t know when they’ll ever find themselves in such a scenario, racing tricycles against woodland creatures, but who knows what the next acid trip holds?

I’m sure there’s some moral to this that I missed. Love your family, train hard, don’t trust ducks, I don’t know. Because frankly, Buzz Beaver was practicing all summer, we should really be hoping and praying for his victory. P.J. trained for a week, and Ritchie Raccoon is one of those bastard rich kids whose parents bought him a new tricycle. If Buzz Beaver doesn’t win, it’ll really be one in the eye for ‘work hard, and you can do anything’ mantras. Because no matter how hard you try, sometimes in life, you’re just a shitty beaver who can’t pull ahead of a wealthy raccoon.

Tragic. To cheer you up, particularly those of you who are beavers, let me close with an image of my favourite character: the unnamed bear thing who is officiating the race. I like him because he’s hairy as fuck.

…their clothes. Titty-boom.

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