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Maisy the Mouse and Lucy Cousins: Why I hate them. By Shalom Auslander for Babble.

15My son is a seventeen-month-old Magellan, a toddling Columbus, an infant Jacques Cousteau when the lid of the toilet is accidentally left open, and he explores his strange new world with cheerful eyes, an endless curiosity and a wonderfully optimistic, if still unsteady, stride. There are so many things I want to tell him.

I want to tell him that we love him without condition.

I want to tell him how lucky we are to have him in our lives.

And I want to tell him that Maisy is serious, serious bullshit.

“Bookie,” says my son, handing me a Maisy book and climbing onto the couch. “Mayshee.”

Maisy is a mouse, poorly drawn and shoddily inked by a cynical English con artist named Lucy Cousins. There are thirteen million Maisy books in print and Lucy is, as the back cover indicates, “beloved by millions of people around the world.”

People are idiots.

I want to tell him that, too.

“Dada,” my son implores me. “Bookie.”

“Not Maisy, Buddy, please, anything but Maisy.”

“Mayshee,” he nods, snuggling up beside me. “Mouse.”

“She’s playing you, man,” I want to tell him. “Lucy’s playing everybody. How long does this crap take her, five minutes a book? It looks like a two-year old drew it. It sounds a one-year old wrote it. I honestly don’t think she draws these, Buddy, I’ve got to tell you. I think she’s abducted a bunch of kids, and I think she keeps them at the bottom of a well and every morning she passes a bucket down to them filled with markers and drawing paper. She draws the mousey with a grin or else she gets the hose again. Lucy doesn’t give a shit, Son, trust me. She’s got bills. She’s got a new house in the Lake District. She’s pimped-out her Hummer. Those kids’ parents are worried, Son, I know, I’m a parent now, too. And I’ve seen the posters. “Have you seen Timmy?” “Have you seen Sally?” No, but I’ve seen their work. And it sucks. And they’re in a well in England. Beloved? She should be arrested.”

In Maisy Takes a Bath, Maisy takes a bath. The end. Maisy, to recap, takes a bath. There’s no obstacle to the bath, no journey to the bath, nothing to learn from the bath – not even a “This is a shirt and this is pants,” no “Is the water too hot?” or “Is the water too cold?” I’m not looking for The Brothers Karamazov, but Christ, show a little effort. Know what happens in Maisy Makes Lemonade? Maisy makes lemonade. Know what happens in Maisy Has A Party? Maisy has a party. Know what happens in Maisy’s Creator Gets Slapped?

“Bookie,” my son implores me.

Maisy Takes A Bath,” I read. “By Lucy Cousins.”

“Mayshee,” he says.

“Where’s Mayshee?” I ask.

“Tub-tub,” he says.

He leans over and kisses Maisy.

There are so many, many things I want to tell him.

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