(First, a very happy birthday to Ken Bruen. Wishing you all of the best in the coming year – you deserve it!)
A mother of two is trying to get a children’s mystery book pulled from store shelves.
"They discovered every child's worst nightmare, the lifeless body of Santa Claus," she read from a story titled, 'Who Killed Santa Claus'. "He was in a storage room his head bashed in by the butt end of a 44 revolver.”
Another passage described how the most famous chef in Texas was hacked to death with a meat cleaver. Another passage describes a child seeing bruises on his mother's arm.
The product is still being sold at the bookstore however and Saunders wants to see that changed.
"I want it pulled from the shelves," she said.
The book is packaged in such a way consumers are prevented from browsing through it in store, but it’s packaged with a label that claims it’s appropriate for children age seven and up.
I don’t know – especially without seeing the book – if I go so far as to say it’s inappropriate for children of any age. And while I tend to agree that some of the images seem to be a bit disturbing (go to the link to see one) for younger children, I’m not sure that it’s much different than much of what children are exposed to these days.
Does that make it right? Well, no. Not necessarily.
However, this raises a question about what the retailer is responsible for. It’s one thing for the Catholics to pull THE GOLDEN COMPASS from their schools (even after it’s been in their library for ten years) but it’s quite another to pressure a bookstore about what they can and cannot sell.
It also raises interesting questions, in terms of who is responsible for appropriate marketing of books. After all, age indicators are printed on books/boxes by the publisher, not the retailer.
Shouldn’t this woman be protesting against the publisher instead of the bookstore?
What does everyone think? Not appropriate for children of any age, or how old should kids have to be before they can read it? Should the stores pull the book?
I am waffling, because I’m loathe to judge without having seen it, although I do agree it’s not appropriate for children as young as seven. But considering the movies kids watch these days, I think saying it should be pulled from store shelves is going way too far.
I could be persuaded to change my opinion on this one, though.