CORAL GABLES, FLA — Longtime children's author Milton Merkle, aka "Mr. Pants" passed away at the age of 77. Unlike his contemporaries Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl or Ezra Jack Keats, Merkle met with high disapproval by all who read his stories.
Parents worldwide rejoiced upon hearing about Merkle's death.
"That bastard ruined my childhood, my daughter's childhood and now my granddaughter's childhood! Finally, he rots in hell!" exclaimed Laurie Voss, 53, of Smyrna, Tennessee.
Merkle sympathizers often compare him to Edward Gorey, who was renowned for his funny-yet-morbid treatises such as 1963's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies." However, a majority are simply glad he's dead.
"How the guy ever managed to get a book deal is beyond me." offered veteran children's book publisher Vern Lazzario. "But what I really can't comprehend is ... why did anyone buy his books?"
Parenting psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Choo postulates that parents just simply didn't know what they were getting into.
"If it looks like Seuss, then it's probably fun and engaging for the kids. It's only after reading time does the content come to life and rear it's ugly head."
Other notorious Merkle titles include Fanny's Five Finger Discounts!, Oh, The Places You'll Go Pee! and The Squeakiest Bed, the world's first and only Let's-Listen-Late-At-Night early learning book.
Anthropologists speculate that Merkle's books helped engender a wave of child misbehavior ranging from vandalism to shoplifting to spying on behalf of Soviet Bloc nations. Actual data is hard to find, but many criminals admit to being brought up on Mr. Pants books.
One of them, triple-murderer Maurice Lee Bates is now busy writing his own Merkle-tainted memoirs—T is for Trauma.