Thursday, June 14, 2007

My, how the times have changed....


I will begin by quoting my sister in saying "This is totally random, but....." James' favorite book of the moment is Smokey the Bear, published in the 60's. He carries it around and has two favorite pages which he sticks with. He points to the different things in the picture and asks over and over, "Was-at?" (Translated=What's That?) While reading this book to him, I have had a chance to notice that if this book is ever published again, they will have to do some editing. Mr. Swift, as the father is referred to, is pictured on every page with a pipe hanging out of his mouth. Maybe since smoking is no longer cool, the illustrator can replace it with a piece of straw or something. Also, how is smoking in the forest supposed to 'help prevent forest fires'? That leads to the second irony I found in the book: Smokey's rules for fire safety. One of the rules was to encourage parents and other adults to 'be careful with their smokes.' I just thought that was hilarious. Why not tell kids to tell their parents NOT to smoke, at least in the woods. If the book is republished, they would have to say 'encourage your parents to join a smoking cessation program, and let them know that there is support out there when they need it.' Maybe Smokey could even be wearing a Phillip-Morris t-shirt. Its funny how times change, and the literature of our childhoods is no longer 'politically correct' or socially acceptable. Who knows? Maybe the book has been recalled by now, either because of the smoking references or perhaps if the child removes the spine from the book it could be considered a choking hazard?! At least James will know what a chipmunk is, but I doubt he will take up smoking as a result of his exposure to Mr. Swift's dirty habit.

1 comment:

Trish D said...

This is too funny - I actually just rotated a bunch of books here, and one of the "new" ones that the kids have been enjoying is "The True Story of Smokey the Bear." Also from '55, but no Mr. Swift to mock. The last page does have Smokey's Rules, the last of which is:
LET'S ALL BE CAREFUL WITH SMOKES-
I'll tell all the grownups: Please - nevermore-
Drop cigaretts or matches on the dry forest floor