This past week I spent some quality time in the children's section of the Wayne Public Library. Over on Instagram (we're @mental_floss), I've been sharing photos of books with facts related to them. Since only 1,030 people have joined us over there — way more than the 42 who'd joined us before last weekend, but still plenty of room on the bandwagon — here's a recap of our latest field trip.
Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in parts of China. "Bears, lions and other beasts cannot use a human language," said General Ho Chien in 1931. "To attribute to them such a power is an insult to the human race."
Other names considered for Nancy Drew included Diana Dare, Stella Strong, Helen Hale and Nan Nelson.
Before the Nazis invaded Paris, H.A. and Margret Rey fled on bicycles. They were carrying a rough manuscript for Curious George.
How did Curious George get to America? He was captured in Africa by The Man With the Yellow Hat — with his yellow hat.
Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's former chief exorcist, believes practicing yoga is Satanic. "It leads to evil," he said, "just like reading Harry Potter."
Margaret Wise Brown had no children and left all of her Goodnight Moon money and future earnings to Albert Edward Clark III, a young neighbor boy.
E.B. White is the "White" of Strunk and White (of Elements of Style fame).
Before jumping to books and TV and Happy Meals, Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears were just designs on greeting cards.
While in art school, Maurice Sendak was a window dresser for F.A.O. Schwarz in New York.
Norman Bridwell almost called his big red dog Tiny, but his wife suggested Clifford — the name of her childhood imaginary friend.
To get detainees to talk, one of the songs interrogators at Guantanamo Bay use most is Barney’s “I Love You.”
In 1929, author J.M. Barrie gave the rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London. The copyright expired in 2007, but a deal was worked out where the hospital continues to collect royalties from stage performances of Peter Pan in the U.K.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar was almost called A Week With Willi Worm.
Goosebumps author R.L. Stine was also the head writer on Eureeka's Castle, a Nickelodeon show featuring lovable puppets.
Chris Farley was the original voice of Shrek. Almost a year after Farley died, Mike Myers took on the role.
Dr. Seuss said he expected to spend "a week or so" writing The Cat in the Hat. It ended up taking a year and a half.
In 1997, 685 kids in Japan were rushed to hospitals after a particularly intense Pokémon episode caused dizziness, vomiting and seizures.
Stan and Jan Berenstain didn't just write about bears. Among their other credits: How to Teach Your Children About Sex.
According to a recent survey, the worst parent in fiction is the mom of the ten little monkeys jumping on the bed. (OK, there was no survey. It was just me saying that on Twitter. But I'm eager to hear your vote in the comments below.)
Follow @mental_floss on Instagram (don’t forget the underscore) and get in on the ground floor of our taking-pictures-of-things-and-finding-amazing-facts-about-them adventures.