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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Could You Change the Ending?  

A mother swept in one day and demanded to know if there was a version of Charlotte’s Web with an alternate ending. She complained that the spider’s death was too sad and depressing and she didn’t want her seven year old son exposed to something so upsetting. Instead of seeing the book as a beautiful parable about the natural cycle of life and death – which, whether we like it or not, is our common destiny – she wanted to ruin the entire point of a children’s classic for her own sadly misguided purposes.
Another librarian reported that The Quitting Deal was challenged (librarian term of art meaning a patron has asked for a book to be removed from the collection) because the mother in the book was messy and there were dirty dishes in the sink.

Comments:
It is so interesting to read this, Foxy. The very topic of "Charlotte's Web" came up on a message board I frequent, and the members debated whether it was an appropriate book for certain-aged school children. My thought was "yes." They'll have to deal with these lessons in real life, so why not let a wonderful story like "Charlotte's Web" set the stage? But many disagreed, stating that the book was too harsh.

Makes me wonder if they think Grimms' Fairy Tales are too harsh. I mean, come on, the brothers' last name was Grimm. I'd rather learn about Charlotte and her clan than read about wicked stepmothers and the like.
 
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