Rugrats: Guide to Adulting & Hey Arnold!: Guide to Relationships
Today I’ll be taking a look at two nostalgic humour books that take us back to the 90s. Rugrats: Guide to Adulting & Hey Arnold!: Guide to Relationships from Dorling Kindersley feature the cult Nickelodeon characters in their new guise as self-help gurus.
Rugrats: Guide to Adulting by Rachel Bozek
If the word ‘Rugrats’ doesn’t instantly conjure up the toy piano theme song in your head or Chuckie Finster’s saying ‘we’re doomed’ then we probably can’t be friends. Rugrats was one of my favourite cartoons growing up and still is today, so I was really excited to check out this guide (but I’m really nervous about the forthcoming live-action/C.G.I remake).
The Rugrats: Guide to Adulting is a small hardback mostly set out with an encouraging quote and related hashtags on one side (in classic Rugrats title card style) and cartoon still and text on the opposite facing page.
Snippets of advice including get woke, deal with toxic people, love yourself, exercise responsibly and just be yourself. My personal favourite is the ‘love yourself’ quote from the one and only Angelica Pickles. “Sometimes I wish I could be you, just so I could be friends with me.”
Hey Arnold!: Guide to Relationships by Stacey Grant
Arnold and Helga, they’re up there with the great ‘will they, won’t they?’ relationships of the 90s. Angela and Jordan of My So-Called Life, Mulder and Scully from the X-Files (before the noughties ruined it) and Arnold and Helga. She used the classic treat ’em mean technique but it didn’t work so well. The untrained eye might think Helga was just a schoolyard bully, but the love-smitten girl was sorely misunderstood.
The book is mostly made up of tips from Helga but with her lack of a love life, it’s arguable whether she’s the best fount of knowledge, but let’s not look too closely at that.
My personal highlight from the Hey Arnold!: Guide to Relationships is this: ‘When you take a chance on someone, sometimes you get hurt. That’s okay. What’s not okay is letting rejection overwhelm you until you shut out everything but pidgeons using you for free food.” Strong life advice.
Stocking-stuffer style humour books start to appear in bookshops and supermarkets around this time of year in the build-up to Christmas and these whimsical little books fit into that category perfectly. They tap directly into your nostalgia vein and I’ll place money on them leaving you smiling. Imagery is taken directly from the old cartoons so some of it isn’t as crisp as the covers, which is a shame but doesn’t detract from the overall fun. The Hey Arnold!: Guide to Relationships and Rugrats: Guide to Adulting are funny, light-hearted and will probably touch a nerve or two to get you thinking. If you’re looking for a little gift book for an 80s baby and a 90s kid you can’t go wrong with these.
If you like look of these then check out my review for Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo by Chris McDonnell.