Smoking Hot Controversy

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The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler has garnered some criticism from parents for having an evil scarecrow who smokes.  Evidently, it’s not enough that the bad guy is the one smoking, nor that the other characters actually say out loud that smoking is bad, but just the image of a cigar is enough to cause concern for children.

I have a copy of the book and wanted to see what the fuss was about.  I must admit I was surprised at how clearly smoking was dealt with as something bad and then that even the bad guy doesn’t really successfully smoke.  I’ve taken a picture of the page in question, and honestly it is just a single page in the entire book.  This way you can make up your mind if it’s appropriate for your school, library or children.

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I also appreciate the fact that the cigar is actually part of the plot.  When it falls from Reginald’s hand, it starts a fire that is important to the progress of the story. 

So what do you think?  Should children’s books have smoking in them?  Is it ever OK? 

2 thoughts on “Smoking Hot Controversy

  1. I think this is just another example of hypersensitivity around certain topics. Those same parents will, in all likelihood, let those same kids play Grand Theft Auto XIV when they’re 13. And, I would guess the instigators are first-time parents too, since I recall how ridiculously over-protective I was of my first child before we had our second. Having two kids makes clear just how out of control things really are and helps you chill out and just enjoy it. I think the way smoking is handled in this book is perfect for little kids. When they think about smoking in the future, their first mental images of it will be coughing, choking, and danger.

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