One of the other stories in Dr. Seuss’  “The Sneetches” is a lil’ story called What Was I Scared Of?  Lemme just say that story gives me serious heebie jeebies. I’m so glad I didn’t read this when I was a kid! The first time I read it to Big I had no idea what I was in for. Then I got to this page:

 Illustration from "What Was I Scared Of?"

(Pic from


In case you don’t know (I certainly didn’t), here’s Wikipedia’s synopsis of the story:

What Was I Scared Of? tells the tale of a character who repeatedly meets up with an empty pair of pale-green pants. The character, who is the narrator, is initially afraid of the pants, which are able to stand on their own despite the lack of a wearer. However when he screams for help, the pants also start to cry and he realizes that “They were just as scared as I!” After that the empty pants and the narrator become good friends, and now the boy and the pants are no longer afraid of each other. This story teaches the lesson that you should not be afraid of things with which you are not familiar.

OH. MY. GOD. It’s bedtime and I’m reading my preschooler a story about pants WITH NOBODY INSIDE THEM. I’m scaring MYSELF, for chrissakes. So I quickly make up some alternative ending and move on to something safer.

But the next day, Big asks for “the pants story.” I try it again, figuring I’ll try to put a happy spin on it and we should be okay since it’s daylight and not right before he’s going to sleep. I read it straight through but really play up the ending where they are friends and repeatedly say, “See? There was nothing to be afraid of! Silly pants!”

Now it’s one of his favorite stories for me to read him at bedtime. What a brave boy.

So then I’m Googling images of the pants to contribute to this blog post and I find this.  Lydia from Understand Blue writes, “Finally, one of my biggest phobias was staring me in the face on Canyon Road this morning.  Yes, it’s true.”


 Statue of pants from Understand Blue website


And then I found more by the hilarious Georgia Getz on “I Am Bossy:”

Illustration with text, "The Sneetches, by the way, is the best children's story about racism ever."

by Georgia Getz from “I Am Bossy”

 Illustration with text, "These pants would just run all the hell around. At night. In the woods."

by Georgia Getz from “I Am Bossy”

Illustration with text, "Hello Dr. Seuss.  Hope you enjoyed your magic mushrooms."

by Georgia Getz from “I Am Bossy”


Suspicions confirmed. My child is forever damaged. My work here is done.

So tell me, how are YOU planning to traumatize your child at an early age?  What books scared you as a kid?




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