Top Ten Children's Books Where Things End Unhappily
Recently The Guardian featured Richard Gwyn's top 10 books in which things end badly and it made me think of kidlit equivalents. It's different, of course. Teen books are allowed to have sad endings, whereas children's literature gets to choke out a last gasp of "hope" or two. So I started wondering about the top ten children's books where things turn out poorly by the tale's close. Additional thoughts are welcome.
1. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson- Sort of the go-to sad ending book. Then again, at least one of the kids live. That's worth something, right?
2. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson - Dead dog. Oh, I'm sorry. Did I ruin it for you?
3. Anything by Robert Cormier - Who is technically YA, but was shelved in children's rooms for so many years that we're giving him this one. Did any of his books end happily though?
4. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen - Curse you, little match girl! Curse you for depressing me as a five-year-old. Where's THAT Disney movie, huh?
5. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen - Yeah yeah yeah. She gets turned into some kind of watery spirit. Whatever, dude. Andersen had "issues". Oh yeah. I said it.
6. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - She's a stump and, to add insult to injury, the boy she once loved sits on her. Ouch.
7. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch - Creeeepy ending. Maybe not "sad" but I still shiver when I think of it. I think this qualifies as ending "unhappily".
8. Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister - Sad little fishy. All his beautiful scales are gone and he's putting on this fake face where he seems to be saying, "I'm totally cool with looking exactly like everyone else... really!"
9. Wolves by Emily Gravett - I should clarify that I like this book's ending. But that last image of all the rabbit's mail piling up because he is dead dead deadski ain't exactly heartening.
10. Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis - EEEEEEEEK!