As a kid, one of my favorite, dearest books was Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. I adored it when my dad read them to me. They felt more like stories than poems. I loved the fact that nasty things happened to the characters and you were allowed to just delight in it and keep on reading.
Here’s a bit of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, “May I come in?”
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
“He’s going to eat me up!” she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough
And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough!”
You’ll find the whole, gloriously gruesome thing at Children’s Poetry Archive, as well as a track of Roald himself, reading the poem. Roald isn’t all dramatic and hammy about it as my dad was when he read them to me (being Irish and all that). Roald is perfectly fine, and I thank him most sincerely for writing these funny, brilliantly nasty poems, but I’ll take over-the-top, Irish daddy drama over dulcet British tones any day.