Let’s Read: You Wouldn’t Want to be a Sailor On a 19th Century Sailing Vessel! 🌭

Not every Upsetting Day will be about accursed children’s books, but a lot of them will be, since nobody hates the playful innocence of the young like the people who write books for them. In descending order, here are the top three creatures who are most harmed by the pure giggle of a toddler:

3.) Vorgeth Lightsbane, Devourer of Innocence and Archduke of the Scorching Sands of Hell, Tenth Ascension of the Screaming Plane, The Orphanmaker, He Whose Sword Is Never Sated

2.) Betsy DeVos

1.)The fine folks at Salariya Books

A lot of Salariya’s offerings are pretty standard fare. They hate children in a superficial, almost charming way. Their books are mostly about kids making Cursed Monkey’s Paw-style wishes that teach them to appreciate zinc.

Billy: “Gee, without windows to keep out mosquitoes malaria sure did kill everyone I love, Giggly the Glass Sprite. You’re right, we can’t live without glass! But my little brother just broke his arm falling out of a tree. I bet we could live without those!”

Billy: *painful suffocating gasps*

Salariya did not invent this cruel game, they merely enjoy it. Every other educational film strip made before 2006 was about some dipshit kid finding a genie and indulging in some inexplicable grudge against sodium. Salariya truly takes their disdain to the next level in their “You Wouldn’t Want To Be” series. 

Now, admittedly the idea behind these books is that they’re a bit on the darker side. They’re meant to appeal to the weird kid who always finds some excuse not to stand up for a while after dissecting his frog. But Salariya is very clear that these books are still meant for young children. Specifically, ages 7-12. 

I want you to keep that age group in mind as we delve into You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Sailor On A 19th Century Whaling Vessel. Already I have questions: Which unsuspecting child is this in the face of, Salariya? There’s no rash of second graders pestering their borderline alcoholic teacher about their wish to travel back in time so they can stab whales. This must be a very specific, personal vendetta. This is clearly just a thin excuse to drag a piece of glass across one particular kid’s soul, and boy howdy, does Salariya know how to gouge.

The book is written in second person, framed like a Choose Your Own Adventure story where every choice is wrong and they’re all made for you, which, to be fair, is a pretty accurate representation of a child’s life in the 19th century.

And yes, all of the art is like this: It’s clearly meant to be in the Mad-magazine style, but taken to some crazy extreme where every single character is some sort of inbred monkey beast who looks like they’ve just discovered that some holes are for fucking and they’re eager to test the others.

This is the second paragraph:

If a children’s book tries to warn you of the horrors to come, you better listen. That’s like Leatherface breaking character to tell you to run — this mercy is not often given, and the only thing that’s certain is that if you ignore it, you will find out what a tongue feels like on exposed muscle.

Why, that last cabin boy layed for the captain for two straight years and he barely made enough to afford a new prosthetic wooden asshole. I swear I’m not trying to force the dark jokes in here — there’s a lot of weird sub/dom implications between ‘you’ and the captain. 

Listen, if you don’t want to take the assless overalls and powdered wig from him, that’s fine. He actually likes it best when you’re smelly.

This is like 50 Shades of Gray for the 19th century whaling scene. Maybe I am seeing things that aren’t there, but it doesn’t help that every single character is drawn like they’re actively imagining the smell coming off the vat of acid they’re going to dissolve you in when you’re “cashed.”

After exploring the complicated sexuality of every bosun on board, we finally get to the whaling itself, and it’s pretty visceral.

“Chimney’s afire! Haha, y’see? Fer all the blood geysering into the air? Ah, ye got tae make your own fun out here on the sea. Oi, listen boyo, what do y’say ye check out the inside of this vat for me, eh?”

Yes, this book goes into very deep detail about the process of utterly demolishing what most 7 year-olds only know as ‘Pearl Krabs.’

Seriously, they go full Hellraiser on this poor whale. Not only am I not exaggerating, I now think 19th century whaling diagrams were the aesthetic inspiration for the Cenobites. Look at this shit:

Your Second Grader definitely needs to know how to peel a whale like an orange. Ignore the tears; tell him again where the chains attach. This world is a harsh place and he will never thrive if he doesn’t understand exactly how you skin majesty.

And this complete whale inversion isn’t even where the dark turn comes in. If lil’ Suzy thought she might never sleep again after you taught her what ‘horse pieces’ are, slip that bitch some pickled ginger because she’s going to need a palate cleanser for all the new horrors she’s about to taste.

Oh no! The last time the captain called you into his cabin, did you accidentally cry out “I need a boyfriend who won’t take it easy on me!” in whalese?! 

Halfway through this book about whaling, your ship sinks and you become stranded on the high seas. Don’t worry: We gloss over nothing.

“Hey Terry, did you write that wacky caption about corpse decomposition?”

“Sure did, Jim! Now what say we head on down to Chuck E. Cheese and piss in the ballpit?”

“Ah, the ol’ Jersey Cereal Bowl. You got yourself a date!”

Yes, in this book intended for 7-12 year olds (13 is too old! They will be jaded by then! The psychic wounds may heal without scarring!) you wind up eating your dead. The silly Mad cartoons just fail to capture the existential horror of that moment when you first see your friends as food.

Like here: Owen is displaying a Scooby-Doo level of scared, when we need him at least at a Hereditary.

At some point, the Little League team you coach is going to learn about sucking the marrow from the bones of their friends. If it’s not from you, it’s from the street. Do you really want them learning the grisly details of cannibalism from some pervert? What if he doesn’t even do the marrow slorping noises right? That’s a risk you can’t afford to take!

Look how mystified those two are — like they just can’t believe a little cousin-eating is society’s line. 

“Did ye explain about tonguing the marrow, Young Tom?”

“Of course, cap’n! Like licking a jagged honeycomb, I told ‘em.”

“And still they shun us? This world has gone soft, boy.”

“Mayhaps it’s your hand in my back pocket they find disconcerting, sir.”

“Back pockets haven’t been invented yet, Young Tom.”