If I could wave a magic wand and make one children's book not exist anymore, it would have to be Peter Pan.
I know, I know; magical fantasy land, the foundation of the Disney empire, unsurpassed inventiveness and creativity, humour, adventure and fun, blah blah blah, I am a literature heretic and a traitor to EngLit majors everywhere.
But has anybody actually read it recently? Oh my effing GOD! It is without a shadow of a doubt the most sexist book I have ever read, a minefield of gender stereotypes - and what's so, so wrong about that is that most of them were actually invented for the book! You read earlier fiction from the 19th century and there is none of this bullshit about compulsive mothering (I'm telling you, Wendy totally suffers from Munchausen's By Proxy) and competitive drama-queening between women to gain a man's attention (at least not described with anything less than utter scorn).
Helen Fielding can say what she likes about pinching the plot for Bridget Jones from Pride and Prejudice, but unless she's telling me that her heroine is kind, intelligent and loves her sister and father very much, she's telling porkies. That particular brand of neurotic, spineless, dependent female with no moral center or any sense of identity (let alone self worth) outside of a man's perception is a decendant of Barrie, not Austen.
And before anyone jumps down my throat for being too much of a feminist, just remember Mr Darling in that book. Every TV ad that makes family men seem vain, useless, lazy, stupid, oblivious and arrogant traces its pedigree directly to Mr Darling not taking his medicine.
Peter Pan blows, it really does. It makes me thankful for the depravity of the modern age to think that kids these days probably just watch the Disney cartoon and read the Wiki synopsis.