I came upon this seemingly innocent 1978 children's book recently, and nearly passed it over. Then, I started reading it, and it began to give me an eerie feeling. It's like the beginning of Deliverance, where it initially looks like a happy nature outing, and slowly becomes more and more foreboding. Indeed, the great outdoors is nice, but it also has a dark side - as Tennyson said: ""Nature, red in tooth and claw".
In this story, Willie and Isabella are taken deep into a swamp, "the Heart of Darkness" if you will, by "their guide Johnny". I hate to sound overprotective, but I'm not sure I'd send my kids with ol' Johnny.... something's not right about him. The quote "He got a real pretty mouth ain't he?" comes to mind (Deliverance).
And here's the real WTF moment. Willie and Isabella start finding all sorts of wildlife, which is wonderful.... that is, until they come across an alligator....
"Don't get too close"? Are you kidding me? They're practically in its mouth! Then again, if it's a choice between the alligator and Jimmie, I'll take my chances with the gator.
The book never tells if they get home okay. I guess we can assume they didn't.