No, not the satirical resistance of Led by Donkeys who have worked so hard to expose the bizarre corners of Brexit – nor yet Puzzle, the duped innocent whose impersonation of Aslan in The Last Battle is key to the destruction of Narnia. No, this is just to record how depressing it is on a wet Saturday in November to see a sequel to the Wonky Donkey book, in which his daughter is cute and has long eyelashes.
Just to record it? Perhaps not: perhaps it is more accurate to say that this brief post is a plosive against both books. The Wonky Donkey book (I’m not linking to it) is a series of word plays about an animal where “shortcomings” in mobility, eyesight &c are hilariously (allegedly) explored. Pity the child who walks with an aid and whose teacher reads this. The sequel does try, in that the daughter of the Wonky Donkey does at least stray into smelling as bad as her father – but why the long eyelashes and the cuteness? I want to say to the author (again, no link) “Did you have to?”
I am not always a great fan of the new wave of woke lit for children, which, it seems to me, is patchy in quality and often a bit sermonising – but can’t we do better than these dreadful donkeys? And if the defence is that they are “meant to be funny,” doesn’t that allow for a whole tranche of ableist or sexist humour to be legitimised?
Or is it that I am cold and wet, and fail to see the humour in the absurdity of these stories?