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09-22-06, 08:17 PM #1
Parents upset over book of innappropriate rhymes given to kindergarten kids
BANGOR, Maine --A book of rhymes handed out to kindergarten classes across Maine is being criticized by some parents as inappropriate.
Rhymes" is a compilation of 50 verses included in bags given to 18,000 pupils through the Read With ME literacy project supported by Gov. John Baldacci and his wife Karen.
Karen Baldacci, who is a former kindergarten teacher, spearheads Maine Reads, the nonprofit umbrella organization for Read With ME that is funded by Verizon, the Bangor Daily News reported. The group receives no state money.
A few of the rhymes have raised some eyebrows. For example, one says, "Ladies and gentlemen, Take my advice, Pull down your pants And slide on the ice." Another one says, "Girls go to Mars to get candy bars. Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider."
Erica Smith of Hampden, mother of a 5-year-old son who goes to the McGraw School, said the book is "completely inappropriate."
"It's rude. There are words in there that I don't allow in my house," said Smith, who complained to her son's teacher as well as the school principal. She also called the governor's office to voice her displeasure.
The book, edited by award-winning author Judy Sierra of Castro Valley, Ca., and illustrated by Melissa Sweet of Rockport, was chosen by a five-member committee of literacy specialists, librarians and educators including Karen Baldacci.
Since the book was distributed, the governor's office has received about a dozen e-mails and phone calls from people who said they were "uncomfortable" with the book, said Crystal Canney, spokeswoman for the governor.
"The committee obviously feels that parents should use their own judgment on what they feel is appropriate for their children," she said.
Officials noted that the rhymes, which have been around for generations, are meant to be taken lightly and that the intent was never to offend.
Sarah Cecil, coordinator of the Portland-based Maine Reads, said this year marks the first time anyone has complained about the program.
Most of the evaluation forms that accompanied the book were positive, she said. "At the same time, we're sorry if we offended people and we can respect each parent's or educator's decisions about whether to read the book or not," she said.
Thumbing through the book at her desk at the Bangor Public Library, Anne Mundy, director of the children's department, said she could see both sides of the controversy.
"Everyone's sensibilities are a little different, so it's hard to find something that's going to be welcomed by all families of kindergartners," she said.
09-22-06, 08:31 PM #21*girl GuestA few of the rhymes have raised some eyebrows. For example, one says, "Ladies and gentlemen, Take my advice, Pull down your pants And slide on the ice." Another one says, "Girls go to Mars to get candy bars. Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider."
You know, I wouldn't want my kindergartener reading that either, but it just sounds like someone got away with a prank to me.
09-22-06, 08:49 PM #3
If a parent has a problem with it, then don't let their child read it. People today just can't function if they don't have something to whine about.
09-22-06, 09:07 PM #4
More pussification of America's kids please!!
Kids can't even play dodge ball. Parents whine. If you don't like it, then throw it out or don't buy it.
09-22-06, 10:05 PM #5
You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that people object to in kid's books. The Mars and Jupiter rhyme that was quoted was old when I was a kid, but then it was reversed on who went where. Harry Potter invariably gets certain people's panties in a bunch, and even Dr Seuss gets objected to on a regular basis. At the same time, Capt. Underpants sales have been booming and Walter the Farting Dog has really gotten a following. People would like to believe that kids will be enchanted with simple (boring) stuff, but it takes something faintly naughty or interesting from a kid's point of view to get them to read. Hell, it takes the same thing for adults, you have to spark an interest to keep the glazed eyes away. Anything that doesn't may as well be stereo instructions for a stereo you don't own and will never see.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
09-25-06, 10:34 AM #6
I think i would be embarrassed, if my 5 yr old son starting singing this rhyme around anyone..... "Ladies and gentlemen, Take my advice, Pull down your pants And slide on the ice."
Not only that, but god forbid this child goes to another school where they dont partake in these "ear catching tunes"....words like those....along with any other inappropriate sexually suggestive rhymes, could warrant some suspicion of what's going on at home..
( ok, i got all serious. lol... sorry the school that i worked in, would never allow those books in the building) there's other ways to capture a child's attention through learning. but see I'm creative:-)you remind me so much of the ground. I'd love to walk all over you.
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