As time has gone on, many books have been often seen as “problematic”, whether it be because of their content, or because of the message that it’s trying to convey, which leads to the book either getting banned or “canceled”. One could make the argument that children’s books don’t fit this sort of mold, and this is, for the most part, true. However, just because children’s books might not have the same sort of content as To Kill A Mockingbird or Catcher In The Rye, this doesn’t mean that children’s books are free from criticism, although the reasons might be up for debate:
The Gruffalo, a cute children’s book about a beast that is half-grizzly bear and half-buffalo befriending a mouse, isn’t a scary book despite its content, but it’s still not free of criticism. Many have complained about the book only having main characters with “he” pronouns, while others have complained about the sexism regarding the characters; the males are written as wild and powerful beasts, while the females are written as smaller and vulnerable animals.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Some may think that readers might be upset about The Very Hungry Caterpillar because of the perceived topic of “binge eating” (and they are, don’t worry), some readers actually seem more upset that the caterpillar in question is referred to as a “he”. Even though the caterpillar doesn’t seem to have a name, people seem to find a huge problem with it. People claim that girl readers will find an issue with reading stories with only male protagonists.
Peter Rabbit has grown in popularity over the last couple of years, mostly because of the movie that came out in 2018, but even an innocent book about a family of bunnies having adventures isn’t immune to criticism. Many readers have branded the Rabbit family as “middle-class”, and because they’re the only rabbits in the book (and the only ones who steal and cause mischief), the portrayal of a middle-class family has caused the book to be banned by the Inner London Education Authority.
Cinderella has been received as a classic for ages, and people don’t seem to have a problem with the story, so much as how it was interpreted. In the original telling of the story, the “ugly” stepsisters were actually not described as being ugly at all, but rather “proud and haughty”. Vanity, of course, isn’t a very good trait to have, but if someone is proud and confident, does that mean that they’re “ugly” like the stepsisters? The book obviously has a lot of mixed messages, and it has received mixed reviews as a result.
Okay, so the problem with this story is actually more obvious than the other stories. The issue, of course, is consent. Some readers found a problem with the prince having to kiss the princess without permission in order to wake her up, not to mention the original story where the prince did even more unspeakable acts to her. Obviously, this story has a lot of things that are wrong with it. and it’s no wonder why people are upset about it.