Local Author Brings Cheeky Laughs to Bedtime Stories

Arts & Culture

Many of us remember bedtime stories as a time of warm fuzzy feelings, a time when our parents could do no wrong and displayed what seemed like infinite patience. What we don’t remember with any sort of clarity are the words from those stories, let alone the exasperation and exhaustion our parents may have felt when they left us to dream of cartoon bears or big red dogs. Author Sean Carle—who has a one-year-old, a three-year-old and hundreds of children’s books in his home—decided it was high time to write a children’s book with the happiness of parents in mind too.

Titled “Baloney Pony Meets Some Colorful Friends,” the board book exists somewhere between the pedagogical and innocent “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and the foulmouthed “Go the F**k to Sleep,” both of which went on to sell millions of copies across multiple languages. The story follows the adventures of Baloney Pony, who, as the book’s Kickstarter page says, “loves meeting new pals as much as he loves munching on stacks of baloney.”

“The idea is that kids meet these characters who are all related to certain colors,” says Carle. Those characters, however, are where the fun begins for parents. A brown beaver, a red one-eyed monster and a roller-skating pink taco are just a few, and the beauty of the innuendo that suffuses the characters is exactly what Carle wanted to leverage. “I don’t swear or use obscenities around my kids at all,” says Carle, “but in English there are all these ridiculous phrases adults can use that have double meanings and it totally goes over my kids’ heads.”

But the path to a final product has been riddled with mixed feelings. “I have a friend I’ve known since middle school who does illustrations for Disney,” says Carle, “and she didn’t want to illustrate it because she was afraid she’d get fired.” Meanwhile, other parents and colleagues love the concept but aren’t always willing to endorse the story openly. “It definitely gives me pause, but I’m not trying to hide obscene or disgusting images in it,” says Carle, “it feels like a really innocent thing to me.”

Still, there’s reason for Carle to be optimistic based on the success of the more explicit “Go the F**k to Sleep.” “It’s probably a joke that I’ve taken too far,” says Carle, “but I just love that space where you can communicate to adults and children at the same time, but on two different levels.” So, while the kids learn about colors as they follow the adventures of Baloney Pony, parents can share a cheeky laugh.

And what’s the harm in that?

The Kickstarter campaign for the first printing of the completed book closes on Thursday, July 1st.

Click here for more information.

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