Last year, the Toronto Public Library’s Materials Review Committee was tasked with deciding whether or not to pull a seemingly controversial book from its shelves. The book: Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop.
According to the TPL’s 2013 reconsideration of materials summary which was released last month, a formal complaint was actually given last year regarding the 1963 children’s book. Why? Isn’t it obvious? Because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.”
The unnamed complainant requested the book be removed from the TPL’s system and further stated the library should “issue an apology to fathers in the GTA and pay for damages resulting from the book.”
I’m shocked it took so many years for someone to bring to light the violence this book has been instilling in kids for the past 50 years!
How could Dr. Seuss condone such a thing?
But in all seriousness, I sincerely hope whoever lodged this complaint did so as a joke. I really hope there isn’t one person out there who truly feels children are at risk of physical violence as a result of reading it.
Whatever happened to the good old days of worrying if your kid was doing drugs, flunking out of school or hanging around the wrong crowd?
No, it’s not the TV shows full of blood and gore or the rap songs riddled with F-bombs you should be the least bit worried about. It’s those horrid children’s books! Obviously. They’ve been under our noses this whole time and no mother, father or teacher has ever even suspected a thing. Well played, Dr. Seuss, well played. Here we’ve been encouraging children to curl up with a book and read when what we should really be doing is thrusting a video game controller into their little hands and plunking them down in front of World of Warcraft.
For future reference, here are a few plots for children’s books that, if published, I would have a better chance of red-flagging if I were a parent:
‘Running with scissors is for wimps. Tough kids juggle knives.’
‘If you’re gonna play with fire, make sure it’s someone else who gets burned.’
‘It may kill you, but drink it anyway.’
‘Strangers have the best candy – and bigger vans mean even more candy.’
Let’s focus our energy on the real problems out there, like the television programs and movies that glamorize teen pregnancies.
Let’s worry about whether or not your son is reading at the right grade level or if he’s failing math.
Let’s worry about whether or not your daughter is treating others with the respect they deserve.
And if you still have time to worry about whether or not a children’s book is going to give your son the strong urge to stomp on his father, maybe the problem has more to do with you.
In the end, common sense did prevail. The TPL’s review committee reported that in the book children are actually told not to hop on their pop. An investigation into the material by the library determined it wasn’t eligible for removal.