Item: In a revised edition of "Goodnight, Moon," the photograph of illustrator Clement Hurd was altered to remove a cigarette from his hand. ... Kate Jackson, the editor in chief of HarperCollins Children's Books, said the cigarette "is potentially a harmful message to very young kids." New York Times, Nov. 17
As children's book publishers and their critics reexamine the classics, expect E-mails like these:
TO: POOH'S PEOPLE
FROM: NUTRITION POOH-BAHS
It has not escaped our notice that Mr. Pooh spends an inordinate amount of time hunting for honey. While those of us in nutritional oversight have nothing against sweets, we hope soon to see Pooh giving equal time to his hunt for leafy greens, whole grains and a small serving of protein (Piglet?).
TO: SEUSS EDITORS
FROM: LEGAL DEPARTMENT
It has come to our attention that the character known as "Cat" balances a fish (aka "Fish") atop an umbrella in the unexpurgated "Cat in the Hat." Fish was right: The cat should NOT be there when mother is out. He is trespassing. In future editions, Cat shall wait outside until mother returns.
TO: CHRISTMAS DEPARTMENT
CC: POETRY, CLASSICS
Santa is obese. In "A Visit from St. Nicholas," it says, "He had a broad face and a little round belly/That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly." What a horrendous role model. Kindly change to: "He had a broad smile and a little flat belly/That he kept nice and firm by avoiding the deli."
TO: THE WONDERLAND CREW
RE: RX DRUG PLAN
While we love the idea of Alice suddenly sprouting tall, we cannot encourage the overuse of human growth hormones. Therefore, Alice's magic pill should be replaced by an Advil.
TO: THE WILD THINGS IN EDIT
FROM: LIABILITY COMPLIANCE
The night Max wore his wolf suit, he sailed off to "Where the Wild Things Are," in a costume with a tail that posed a tripping hazard. From now on he will wear his hamster suit.
TO: J.K. ROWLING
FROM: HE WHO MUST NOT BE LOCATED
By portraying You-Know-Who as a sadistic madman with no redeeming qualities, you foster a deep suspicion of torture and those who endorse it. This will only confuse future voters. I have taken the liberty of ordering your incarceration at an undisclosed location and changing Voldemort's stated goal from "World domination," to "Worldwide democracy."
TO: "GOODNIGHT, MOON" STAFF
FROM: KATE JACKSON AGAIN
As excited as I was to see the cigarette removed, I just noticed there is a MOUSE on almost every page. EEK! In future volumes we will edit out the mouse, as well as the "bowl of mush," which could attract just such pests. Happy classics!