July 12, 2006

DTBBC: Flanimals

Flanimals.jpgTitle: Flanimals and More Flanimals
Author: Ricky Gervais
Illustrator: Rob Steen
Reviewer: Julie

My four year old son just loves Flanimals, by Ricky Gervais, of The Office fame. He has to show this book to every grup who visits our house, and he will preface the presentation by saying in a very serious tone, "These are just pretend." Flanimals is a textbook of absurd and grotesque creatures that blow up, eat each other, have disgusting hygiene and bodily functions, or just sit there and do nothing and die. The flanimals have common names (like Coddleflop and Plamglotis) and Latin names (like Ovarian Fliphanger and Taslo Epiglug) and take themselves very seriously.

If you can't get enough of Flanimals, there is you can always read More Flanimals which continues with Flanimals' creatures and adds a few more. There is a lot more information such as evolutionary charts and Flanatomy.

Ricky Gervais has an intelligent dry wit. He probably didn't write these books just for the heck of it. I'll bet if you read these books more carefully and thoughtfully (rather than half-asleep and as fast as you can at bedtime), it is probably an amazing allegory of politics, culture, or religion, but I have neither the time or inclination to do so. Maybe my son will figure it out and explain it to me.

2 Comments

Ricky Gervais is very talented and very funny however, he is also a very anti-Judeo-Christian atheist.

His Flanimals book is actually an anti-Judeo-Christian polemic in the guise of a children’s book.

For example, it includes a mock rendering of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” along with text that sings the praises of mutation/evolution and besmirched as “Mental!” the view that all of the Flanimals were created by a sky being known as “Grob.”

More details are found at this link.

Gervais is public about his atheism, so the implication that he is part of a secret conspiracy is misleading. Michelangelo was a big ol' homo, and his painting doesn't conform to or express any orthodox doctrine of the Catholic Church, or the Nicene Creed, so if he or his art is the source of your faith, you're already in trouble.

And though there are many Christianists who reject it, it is possible and even plausible to be both Christian and a believer of science, experimentation, the search for understanding, empirical knowledge, and yes, even theories of evolution as they are demonstrated in the world. So it's possible to read a children's book with one's faith intact and unharmed.

In fact, according to accounts I found, Gervais's own "conversion" to atheism came at an early age when he was stunned by the brittleness of his own mother's faith and her fear of questions or discussions of basic beliefs in God. So good luck with that.

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