For whom, then, is the book intended? That is the trouble. Unless I can say, “For those, young or old, who like the things which I like,” I find it difficult to answer. Is it a children’s book? Well, what do we mean by that? Is The Wind in the Willows a children’s book? Is Alice in Wonderland? Is Treasure Island? These are masterpieces which we read with pleasure as children, but with how much more pleasure when we are grown-up. In any case, what do we mean by “children”? A boy of three, a girl of six, a boy of ten, a girl of fourteen - are they all to like the same thing? And is a book “suitable for a boy of twelve” any more likely to please a boy of twelve than a modern novel is likely to please a man of thirty-seven; even if the novel be described truly as “suitable for a man of thirty-seven”? I confess that I cannot grapple with these difficult problems. But I am very sure of this: that no one can write a book which children will like, unless he write it for himself first. That being so, I shall say boldly that this is a story for grown-ups. […] But, as you see, I am still finding it difficult to explain just what sort of book it is. Perhaps no explanation is necessary. Read in it what you like; read it to whomever you like; be of what age you like; it can only fall into one of the two classes. Either you will enjoy it, or you won’t.
It is that sort of book.
-A.A. Milne about his awesome charming book Once on a Time.
Did anyone else read Sideways Stories from Wayside School as a kid?
I remember one story about a new kid who smells horrible and wears a big coat and is an all around jerk. The kids have had enough of his shit so they start pulling off his coat, only to find another coat, and another, and eventually they get to a little tiny coat and when they pull it off the kid is just a dead rat and they go gross and throw it out the window. The end.
These books were fucking awesome.