A cartoon about the changing of words in Roald Dahl books.
The cartoon illustrates the bowderising or censorship of the text of Roald Dahl children’s books. The changes include the removal of words such as ‘ugly’ and ‘fat’.
The changes are put down to the use of sensitivity readers who are employed to alter text to remove language that is judged to be inappropriate or problematic.
The action is viewed as being part of the woke phenomenon.
Drawn: February 2023
Cartoon reference number: a944
Art education cartoon
A cartoon showing a child drawing.
The child is drawing very well, but the teacher is encouraging her to draw in a more childish way. A cartoon about the holding back of talent.
First version drawn: 2006
Cartoon reference number: a155b
A cartoon about bowdlerisation – the rewriting of text to remove material that is considered offensive or objectionable, especially when directed at children.
Bowdlerisation is named after Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare.
Cartoon drawn: Jan 2012
Cartoon reference number: a927
A flaw in the aspirational concept of “You can be whoever you want to be”.
The cartoon illustrates a problem with the currently popular encouragement to schoolchildren that when they grow up they can be whoever they want to be.
The aspirational, motivational expression makes the assumption that everyone will strive for a worthy goal. I don’t think this is necessarily the case.
In fact the concept gives people license to aim towards whatever they desire, which wouldn’t be a good thing.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a835
A cartoon about regulations about the depiction of images of children in art.
The cartoon shows an old oil painting of a child in an art gallery.
The painting has been restored and modified to comply with regulations concerning the depiction of minors.
The child’s face has been pixelated to comply with the rules.
In real life rules on the depiction of children apply to certain media (in which the faces may be blurred), but not to old oil paintings.
Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art024
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
A cartoon about modern baby names and old-fashioned baby names.
A cartoon about the trend for unusual and non-traditional names for babies.
The fashion for non-traditional names for babies may be a symptom of the current trend towards hyper individualism, which may mean that ‘ordinary’ names are viewed as being too conformist.
The trend may also be linked to the rise of celebrity culture where such names are more commonplace
Cartoon reference number: a732
Facts of life cartoon: babies grow like 3D printing
This cartoon, of a pregnant mother explaining the facts of life to her young child, illustrates the use of metaphors for contemporary technological processes. The idea is that young children are more likely to understand modern metaphors than older ones.
A cartoon about the facts of life, where babies come from, the birds and the bees, 3D printing technology.
Cartoon reference number: a730
Cartoon about child psychology and child development.
An image illustrating aggressive tendencies within people. Nature or nurture?
Cartoon drawn: 2004
Cartoon reference number: a681
Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
The nature v nurture debate on human personality
Neurological origins of behavioural traits
A cartoon about the tendency to invoke medical reasons for deviant personality traits, for abnormal personality traits or even for normal aspects of personality.
It shows one aspect of the nature v nurture debate
An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.
In this cartoon I’ve invented a medical condition that is being used by a parent to justify her child’s aberrant or antisocial behavior
The cartoon reflects the tendency to claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the dna
The image is not meant to imply that there is no neurological basis for behaviour, just that it can sometimes be used as an excuse for bad behaviour
The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine
The cartoon was first published in Prospect magazine in May 2013
Cartoon reference number: a591
A cartoon about child development and shopping.
This joke was inspired by seeing children’s toys such as brightly coloured radios with words printed on them such as “My First Radio”
A humorous idea about nature or nurture, social attitudes, capitalism and social conditioning.
The expression “Born to shop” comes to mind
Cartoon reference number: a473
A cartoon about the traditional children’s game, conkers, conkers, as a computer game
The cartoon is about the way that traditional children’s games are being usurped by computer games and other forms of digital entertainment
Conkers is played with the seed of the horse chestnut tree on the end of a piece of string. Competing children take turns to hit each other’s conker until one of them is broken and falls off the string it’s threaded onto.
Cartoon reference number: a399
Dalek hiding behind sofa while watching Dr Who, the British science fiction series, on television
Hiding behind the sofa while watching Dr Who on tv.
There is a cliche that children used to hide behind the sofa or settee when the daleks were on Dr Who.
In this cartoon the roles are reversed, and it’s a young dalek that is hiding behind the sofa when Dr Who is on the television.
Cartoon drawn: 2012
Cartoon reference number: a372
Cartoon showing how to stop a baby crying – give it the phone
A comment on the hypnotic fascination with phones of young people.
The cartoon is also about the way that children are socialised into dependence on technology and gadgets.
The baby is ignoring the soft toys that are dangling in the baby buggy and is focussing completely on a cell phone (mobile phone).
Cartoon reference number: a357
Illustration: origami horse leaping out of a book
A young girl riding on the back of an origami horse
The origami horse in this illustration represents the horses depicted in children’s fiction aimed at young girls. The horse is made out of folded paper that represents the pages of children’s fiction.
The way that the child is riding off on the horse (almost flying) represents the flights of fancy and fantasy created by fiction and literature, and the sense of adventure and escapism.
Cartoon reference number: a347
Environment cartoon about carbon footprints
The cartoon is based on the nursery rhyme that goes:
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do”
The idea partly about the impact of population growth on climate change and global warming – the larger a family, the greater its carbon footprint.
The cartoon is also about eco-housing, ecological buildings, environmentally sound architecture.
Cartoon reference number: a323
Gardening cartoon – children’s toy in garden
Cartoon showing a gardener finding a small spaceship in his garden
He is wondering whether it’s a real spaceship or a children’s toy spaceship from next door
The gardener is saying “Either the vegetable patch is being colonised by tiny aliens or next door’s kids have lost one of their toys.”
Part of the humour of this cartoon is that the gardener thinks that it may be a real alien spacecraft first and a children’s toy second.
A cartoon about children losing toys in gardens, alternative explanations for phenomena, neighbours, next door neighbours’ balls in garden.
Cartoon reference number: a277
Cartoon of a gardener and his son it the garden.
The child is blowing dandelion seeds from a dandelion clock
The gardener is encouraging his son to go and blow the seeds over his neighbour’s garden instead of his garden
This is a cartoon about garden weeds, controlling weeds,seed propagation, wind-borne seed, childhood games.
Cartoon reference number: a261
Children’s television programme Blue Peter is to be dropped from BBC1 – cartoon
Cartoon showing the Blue Peter badge with the ship sinking (because the children’s tv programme is going to be dropped from BBC1 – the main BBC tv channel – and will only appear on CBBC, the BBC children’s programme channel
The cartoon shows the famous Blue Peter badge with the sailing ship on the badge sinking.
This illustrates the fact that Blue Peter has been axed from BBC1 and it’s also a play on the idea that the audience for Blue Peter is sinking
A cartoon about the changing viewing habits of children, tv programming strategies, television programme scheduling.
Cartoon reference number: a235
Gardening and gardens cartoon. The only way to get children to go outside into the garden is to put a television there
A joke about the problem of getting children away from the television and their computers.
The horror of the idea of ‘outdoor television’ – especially for kids
A comic illustration about child development, children’s games and activities, children won’t play outside anymore, physical exercise for children.
Cartoon reference number: a228
Gardening humour about prize-winning flowers
Cartoon shows prize winning blooms being picked by a child as a present for her mother
A humorous illustration about gardening competitions, flower shows, plant breeding, daffodils, children in gardens and prize winning blooms.
Cartoon reference number: a216
Water play joke
A man in his garden watering plants with a hose pipe (or with a watering can).
His wife is commenting to a friend that it’s important for him to have at least 20 minutes of water play per day. The joke in the cartoon is that water play is normally associated with children and child development, and not with adults, although adults benefit from such activity too.
A cartoon about play, child development, leisure activities, watering gardens, irrigation, hobbies, male shed culture.
Drawn: July 2003
Cartoon reference number: a189
A sundial with young children who are too young to tell the time
The reason why the children can’t tell the time is because they are too short to see the top of the sundial
A sundial in a garden as a decorative feature.
A cartoon about child development, learning to tell the time, clocks.
Drawn: Aug 2009
Cartoon reference number: a187
A cartoon about slugs
A humorous illustration about how children learn about the world around them
Children in a garden discovering that slugs don’t have bones.
This is a slightly macabre and unsettling cartoon illustrating the way that kids come across information and facts about the world through play, outdoor activities and general curiosity. Some of these activities are in decline now due to the amount of time children spend in front of their computers.
Drawn: May 2004
Cartoon reference number: a183
Cartoon – why children no longer ask “Can we have our ball back please?”
Children no longer play physical outdoor games, preferring to play computer games and to use mobile phones and other electronic devices.
A cartoon about child development, play, outdoor activities, exercise, passive entertainment.
Drawn: Nov 2003
Cartoon reference number: a164
Fruit Gardening Cartoon – children are no longer interested in scrumping (stealing apples)
Cartoon showing children walking under an apple tree laden with apples, and not being interested in picking any of them because they are too engrossed in modern technological devices such as cell phones or other hand held electronic devices.
Cartoon reference number: a161
Cartoon about children’s art and children’s artistic development
Cartoon showing small children in a nursery class practicing drawing and painting (or colouring-in).
The teacher is helping the children to learn how to draw and paint.
The teacher is saying to a child:
“That’s a lovely drawing, Sophie. Now let’s do another one with Mummy’s head like a great big balloon.”
The cartoon is about child development and children’s artistic development. It is also about adults’ expectations of what children should achieve and about educational methods and standards.
The child in the cartoon is obviously very talented, drawing a very sophisticated likeness of a person (her mother), however the teacher is being very prescriptive in her teaching methods and is encouraging the child to conform to the lower expectations of the standard that children of her age normally attain – in other words drawing a stick person with a big round head.
Cartoon reference number: a155
Existentialist philosophy cartoon: a child’s introduction to existentialism
A philosophy cartoon showing a child reading a book titled “My First Book of Existentialism”.
The philosophical theory of existentialism is usually associated with Jean Paul Sartre.
The humour in the illustration is that an elementary book at the level illustrated in the cartoon is far too basic to explain the theory underlying existentialism (or any other philosophical theory for that matter).
The cartoon also hints at the possibility that some philosophical concepts are more basic than is sometimes thought – and that some philosophies are probably flawed due to fundamental errors due to the limitations of the human brain to grasp concepts.
A cartoon about philosophy, existentialism, existentialist philosophy, philosophical theory.
Cartoon reference number: a131
See my book about life, the universe and everything.
Birdwatching cartoon – and English usage cartoon
Birdwatching cartoon. Misuse of English cartoon.
A cartoon showing a father and son birdwatching. The father is correcting his son’s use of English – on seeing a lesser spotted woodpecker the son has mistakenly called it a fewer spotted woodpecker.
This isn’t just a cartoon about birdwatchers. It’s also a cartoon about linguistics and specifically English usage or misuse.
The mixing up of the words fewer and less is a common error.
Getting annoyed or irritated by the misuse of English, especially at the less/fewer level, is commonly seen as a sign of grumpy middle age.
The cartoon’s idea came to mind because of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Big Garden Birdwatch, an annual event in which people are encouraged to count the different garden birds that visit their gardens.
Cartoon reference number: a104