Maggie Goes On A Diet

I saw an article on Yahoo news last week. It's about a new children's book, called - yep, you guessed it - Maggie Goes On A Diet.

The book summary, from, says,

"Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight. This inspiring story is about a 14-year-old who goes on a diet and is transformed from being overweight and insecure to a normal sized teen who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image."

There's enough in the description alone to bug me. Kids going on "diets"? Teenagers aspiring to be "normal sized"? Come on. Can anyone tell me what a "normal" teenager is?

You know what though - I could handle that. Not the best choice of wording, but it's tolerable. What ticks me off the most is the reason for the weight loss.

According to the book:

"Maggie was teased and made fun of just about every day at school, she was called fatty and chubby and other names that were very cruel."
"Searching the refrigerator in hopes she would feel better, eating lots of bread and cheeses including some cheddar."

So Maggie decides to eat better, exercise and lose weight. All of a sudden, now that Maggie is "normal", kids like her and she has friends.

"Maggie looked forward to her Saturday morning game, more and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name. Playing soccer gave Maggie popularity and fame."

Oh, really? Is that all it takes to make friends and.......wait a second. Are we really ready to teach kids that being "normal" and skinny is the only way to make friends? Do we want them to think that we should give in to bullying - changing so much that the bullies stop bullying? Do we want to give our children self confidence issues?

It makes me slightly sick.

What do you think?


Wii Fit & A Bet said...

I agree! just reading what you copied makes me a little nauseous! sigh. One of my soap boxes is; how do you teach kids to be healthy when their parents aren't, and most of the foods that are in their houses are bad for them? They have little control over what gets bought at the store because lets face it convenience is the name of the game for many families. Its like trying to teach the kids that smoking is bad and YOU should get your parents to STOP smoking!

Jane said...

Two words: Self. Published.

Which means that if it wasn't for the offensive message, nobody would have noticed this book. Because it's really bad! I used to work in children's publishing and rule one is:

Know Your Readers.

So why is the book aimed at 6 - 8 year olds when Maggie herself is 14? With pigtails that stick up like Cameron Diaz in Something About Mary?

Rule Two:

Good story good illustrations.

Both here are shite. I mean a book for - well is it for 14 year olds or 8 year olds or what?

Maggie was teased just about every day at school
She was called Fatty and Chubby and other names that were just as cru-el.
Searching the refrigerator in the hopes she would feel better.
Eating lots of bread and cheeses including some cheddar.

Doesn't scan - crap rhyme - leaden message.

Oh and the author is no stranger to the Krispy Kremes either. NOT an issue but why is he trying to shame little girls?