Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sendak and Seuss

I chose a few children's books for my Banned Book Challenge: In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

In the Night Kitchen has been banned by many schools due to the nudity of the main character who is a young toddler named Mickey. Some librarians have reportedly used black marker to draw shorts on him and others have used white-out to draw diapers.

Searching the internet, you can find out all sorts of symbolism attached to the images and activities. Some are pretty far out. I thought it was an okay book, nothing great. If you are looking for male nudity in a kids book, my suggestion for a delightful story is Tub Toys by Terry Shannon and Timothy Warner, illustrated by Lee Calderon. The grandkids love it and Papa, Grandma and all the aunts love reading it to them.

I was really on a speed-reading roll today, so I went ahead and read The Lorax, too. I was really pushing myself, I know! The Lorax was banned in the Laytonville, California School District on grounds that this book "criminalizes the forestry industry." This cautionary tale chronicles the plight of the environment against the greedy Once-ler who cuts down all the Truffula trees to knit Thneeds from their soft tufts. Originally published in 1971 it's the only Dr. Seuss banned from school curricula across the US. Of course, as the country became more environmentally-friendly The Lorax has been incorporated into many lesson plans.


Alyson said...

Tub Toys is a fun book. I can't believe you push yourself so hard! Reading two books in one day!! That's inspiring. :)

Estella said...

I love In the Night Kitchen, mostly for Sendak's lovely illustrations. Now that you've mentioned Tub Toys I'll definitely give it a look!

jenclair said...

I think Tub Toys sounds like something that Our Max needs!

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm having a hard time with the idea that someone would ban Dr. Seuss. I mean, he's Dr. Seuss!

Picture.Books said...

The Lorax is the only book Dr. Seuss changed after publication, some fifteen years after, deleting a line referencing Lake Erie (after Lake Erie was cleaned up).

For the 'with' and 'without' Lake Erie line, see

Anonymous said...

There was some controversy over The Lorax in Laytonville & the flap drew national media attention but the book was NOT banned in Laytonville Schools!