Some things take you by surprise, like the concept of an educational children’s book about legal marijuana. “Is there a need for this?” my brain wondered. “Is this too soon?”
The book at hand is Stinky Steve Explains Casual Cannabis, written by Maggie Volp and illustrated by Mauricio J. Flores. I have to hand it to these two for even penning this book; the topic of “children and marijuana” is very taboo, and difficult to talk about.
These brave creators took it upon themselves to tackle the controversial yet inevitable subject of parents responsibly consuming marijuana, and when children discover their parents consume recreational or medicinal marijuana. Let’s take a look
Using all rhymes, the book is roughly 12 pages long. There is a focus on a Rastafarian parent, a “hard working” parent, and a musician parent. Each instance opens up with the children essentially finding out their parents partake (smelling the smoke, discovering the vaporizer, seeing the edibles locked away). There is an illustration to accompany each instance.
The kids are concerned, and Stinky Steve basically comes in to save the day. He informs them of how marijuana is safer than alcohol and cigarettes – including this classy line:
Tobacco can kill you,
And with one puff, you’re hooked.
Marijuana’s killed no one
The last time that I looked.
At first I questioned whether this book was meant to be read a loud by the parent, or read silently by the child – but with lines like this, it’s clear that the author intended for it to be read a loud (and for the parent to enjoy the book as much as the child).
After Stinky Steve touches on the dangers, he touches on alcohol prohibition (and how it failed). Lastly we get a great resolution specific to each parental instance: the Rastafarian explains it’s part of the religion, the hard worker explains it’s doctor prescribed, and the musician explains that it helps her get rid of writers block.
These above reasons are all well and good, but there is an additional factor connecting them all: the marijuana based products and paraphernalia are not for children, and are intended for responsible adults. The adults have been discreet because they want to protect their children.
Each page of rhymes also includes a “post-it note” in the bottom right hand of the page, which quickly delves into a more serious tone of factual marijuana related information It’s a symbiotic presentation of kid friendly rhymes, and hard evidence/facts; the combination works well, the post-it’s help to bring the context back to reality.
When I say back to reality, it’s probably because most of the book seems like it’s from an alternate reality to me – but then it dawned; legal weed IS pretty much an alternate reality. Anyone who isn’t a kid right now has grown up in a nation that (for the majority) demonized marijuana. We are now at a tipping point where states have begun to legalize, and with that comes products like Stinky Steve Explains Casual Cannabis.
It’s not our reality, or at least it hasn’t been – but we have to understand this book is geared towards the next generation. The generation who will (hopefully) grow up in a reality without marijuana persecution. A generation where adults who partake responsibly are on par with adults who consume alcohol responsibly, and not chastised for the recreational legal activities they enjoy.
For how cringe worthy this book could have been, it was rather well done. My only guff was with the iambic pentameter in some spots, but I’m sure Shakespeare would tell me to ease off, it’s a difficult subject.
Is it too soon for books like this? No, but it’s going to be hard for us adults to get used to the concept of such things even existing. At first it came off as novel, but after digesting the content – this author feels that it’s an important topic for not only children’s safety, but for the advancement of humankind accepting those who responsibly partake in legal and prescribed marijuana.
Stinky Steve Explains Casual Cannabis is available on Amazon, and is worth a read (for you, and your kids).