“Goodnight Glock,” a poem inspired by Chinese gun books for kids

Goodnight Glock

Goodnight moon
Goodnight platoon
Goodnight Mao jumping over the moon

Goodnight light
And the red commune
Goodnight snares
Goodnight flares

Goodnight grenade
And goodnight air raid
Goodnight clocks
And goodnight glocks

Goodnight Deng Xiao Ping
And goodnight lao Beijing
Goodnight Mao-tai
And goodnight Shanghai

Goodnight egg fu yung
Goodnight fetid dung
And goodnight to the old lady’s festering black lung

Goodnight unseen stars
Goodnight hazy air
Goodnight voices (of dissent) everywhere
__________________________________________

I was inspired to write this parody of the American children’s classic, Goodnight Moon, by several Chinese gun and weaponry books for young children.

The first book for is,《超级小枪迷》(Super Small Gun Enthusiast, Chāojí  Xiǎo Qiāng Mí).

Chinese children's book on guns

This book features 71 full-color photographs of pistols, rifles and automatic weapons, each labeled with basic information and country of make.

Other books in this series, as listed on the back cover, include more predictable children’s titles, such as: Animal Stories, English ABCs, (Chinese) Idioms, and Math 123.

The second book is the more cuddly,《武器》(Weapons, Wǔqì).

Chinese children's book on weapons

In addition to featuring a super cute tank ( it’s so cheerful, how could it even think of running over 1989’s Tank Man! ), it also catalogues a wider range of weaponry such as air craft carriers, fighter jets, tanks and helicopters.

Are you based in China? What grim children’s book gems have you stumbled across in the bookstore?

With thanks to Marilyn D. for giving me copies of these too-horrible-too-be-true children’s books.

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20 responses to ““Goodnight Glock,” a poem inspired by Chinese gun books for kids

  1. I haven’t stumbled across any books, but here in Singapore at our recent school concert, my son’s class was dressed up in farmer’s costumes, given plastic machine guns, and taught to perform a rousing march in Chinese. It was all a bit cultural revolution.

    A lot of people asked me what I thought about it afterwards.

    He has since taught the song and the dance to his 2yo sister. They perform it together often, without prompting. I am looking forward to being home with the relatives for Christmas.

    • I guess this just adds to education somewhere that the Japanese are the mortal enemey and the US is barbaric society. That’s on top of plans to nuke Seattle (and the rest of West Coast) if someone sees fit…

    • You’re right that we glorify guns and warfare in the West too, perhaps in a slightly more PC way (on second thought, I have seen pictures of a pink rifle being marketed for young girls in the US…).

      • actually I found sad that guns are recently more marketed toward women and mothers (some with jewlery). even more sad is now school sports team raffles off assault rifles (AR-15) as prizes.

        Better background checks and more mental health services helps.

        BTW, PLEASE boycott CCTVB on Nov 19 if you want broadcast TV (satelite if you are in Australia or North America)

      • It’s ridiculous. The computer games (or whatever) kids play these days are horrible. When I’m a parent, I don’t think I’m going to own a TV. My kids are going to hate me!

  2. W-o-w!!!! When I think that here in Old Europe we had a huge debate in school over whether it was politically correct that among the kindergarten toys there was a plastic tank…

    • In Seattle, where I’m from, I’m sure the plastic tank would also be looked at with horror! But even here in Hong Kong (vs. Mainland China where these books are from) there was a stall at one school fair selling toy machine guns with mini-platic bayonets on the end.

  3. I’ll need to look for these (and similar books) here in Shanghai! Who knew the local book store would be a source of cultural education – even if I can’t read the language!

    • There are many gems to be found. We also have a stack of China-purchased, bi-lingual food picture books; hilarious to see meatballs called “round meat spheres.”

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