Clement Hurd

Something unsettling resides at the heart of the most beloved books for very young children—that is, the literature for illiterates. This note is a belated attempt to grapple with the horror of infinite regression as it manifests in certain of these works, and perhaps to sound the alarm for parent-caretaker voice-over providers who are too sleep-deprived to notice what’s actually going on.

In Margaret Wise Brown’s Little Fur Family, a small, hirsute child of indeterminate species spends a day in the woods. This gentle narrative of forest exploration appears completely anodyne.

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