HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Do You Want To Play With My Balls?
Authors: The Cifaldi Brothers (Christopher Cifaldi, Matthew Cifaldi)
Illustrator: Santiago Ellzalde
Publisher: Bum Bum Books LLC, 2012
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: No one
Rating: 0 stars (NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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The Cifaldi Brothers (Christopher Cifaldi, Matthew Cifaldi). Do You Want To Play With My Balls? (published in 2012 by Bum Bum Books LLC). Several days ago, I saw a Facebook post from Paul Coffman which shared Mediatakeout’s video of someone reading Do You Want to Play with My Balls? written by the Cifaldi Brothers and illustrated by Santiago Elizalde. It was accompanied by the message, “Disturbing Video. This is a real children’s book being sold to children. Parents, please make sure that your school isn’t using this book! (Wow. They are really trying to indoctrinate kids).” This is more of a book warning than a review, but I was able to read the entire book as the pages were being turned on the video (I would never have spent money to buy such a thing myself). In the book, a group of adorably cute children are pictured having different colored balls, accompanied by conversations such as “Hey Louie! Do you want to play with my balls? Sure Chuck! I can hold your ball sack so it won’t drag on the ground. Wow! Your balls are so big, I can’t even fit them in my mouth! My mom’s always yelling, ‘Louie! Get those balls out of your mouth before you choke!’ You know that mean girl Sally? She squeezed my balls so hard they looked funny. Yeah, well when I play with Sally … I always end up with blue balls. Billy Johnson made Sally cry last week. Now that kid’s got balls!” I found it quite disgusting. On the chance that it was some sort of hoax (those kinds of things do unintentionally get passed around on Facebook every now and then), I decided to do some research and was directed to Snopes. Now, Snopes is not God, so I don’t always believe it just because they say it, but here’s what they had on the book.
“Is the new children’s book Do You Want to Play with My Balls? real? Yes … but it’s not really a ‘children’s book.’ In May 2015, a video featuring a woman reading an ‘actual children’s book’ called Do You Want to Play with My Balls? went viral on YouTube. The book in that video resembles a typical children’s book, featuring pages of illustrations superimposed with simple sentences spoken by child characters. However, all the sentences uttered by those child characters are repetitions of old suggestive jokes involving the duality of the word ‘ball’ as something referring to both a spherical objects used in sports and games and a slang term for a portion of the male genitalia (i.e., the testicles): While the video left many viewers in hysterics, others were confused by the nature of the book. Was this a real product? Could you buy it in stores? Was it really meant for children? Some publications even condemned the book, terming it the ‘most disgusting and evilest children’s book ever created!’ However, Do You Want to Play with My Balls? (like the popular 2001 book Go the F**k to Sleep) is not a work targeted for young readers but rather a parody of children’s books intended for a grown-up audience.” So the book is a children’s book parody intended for adults not children. I get that, but the fact is that it looks like a children’s book, and apparently some stores have mistakenly stocked it in the children’s section. I don’t know whether any schools have used it or not, but given the perversity of some teachers, it wouldn’t surprise me.
And Snopes does admit that the publishers actually said, “Do You Want to Play with My Balls? is the perfect gift for parents, fun loving adults, friends, and even young children (though it’s probably best that they’re young enough to not understand the meaning of a pun).” Ugh! The book is for sale—really– at Amazon, which says, “It’s a book for all occasions: baby showers, birthday parties, bed time readings, brisses. No coffee table, nursery, or kindergarten is complete without a copy. Go ahead, read it to the kids! They’ll love it, but won’t have a clue as to why you’re turning blue with laughter!” That’s revolting too. As several reader reviewers noted, using children for adult sexual innuendo is just grotesque and sick, and even as a gag, the book, with its references to hairy balls and a Ménage à trois implication, is in poor taste, akin to being a playground for pedophilia. One person wrote, “Adults who find this book ‘funny’ must have the intelligence of a 10 yr. old.” In fact, another person who called it the “Funniest book EVER!”, saying “This is definitely not for kids! But it is for adults with a sense of humor,” may have hit on something by noting, “Don’t buy this for your kids. Buy it for the adult who never fully grew up.” The kind of “humor” in this book appeals to adults whose minds have never grown up out of the gutter stage of childhood. No, it is definitely not for kids, but it’s not for adults either who desire to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Anyway, parents, if you run across it, you’ll know that it’s not suitable for children. And, as my friend Lloyd Barker once noted, if something is for “adults only,” it usually isn’t fit for a dog to see.