Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 16, 2010

Minnesota Parent Objects To Bone’s Drinking, Smoking, Gambling, Sexiness; Review Of Work Scheduled

According to an article in Sun Newspapers' Minneapolis area news clearinghouse Minn Local, a parent of an student at Southview Elementary in Apple Valley, Minnesota named Ramona DeLay has objected to the content of the Bone volume her child brought home from school. DeLay subsequently filed to have the material reviewed, and the appropriate review committee is to meet April 27 to consider the request.

imageAccording to the article, the content she objected to in the filing March 15 dealt with the characters' gambling, their alcohol and tobacco use and the "sexual situation" between characters. The filing asks that the material be removed from all students.

The review process is describe in great detail in the linked-to article. It sounds thorough and reasonably representative, and the article that while three books were removed by this process in the 1990s, the most recent book for which this request was made remains on school shelves and 17 of 20 overall had such requests denied.

One of the interesting things about this is that cartoonist Jeff Smith has stated in the past he was always pleased there was no pre-emptive request on Scholastic's part to excise the gently humorous incidents of drinking and gambling in the book for fear of such a complaint.

To my eye, the incidents in the book are no different than in any number of books I read at that age, even age-appropriate books, and the absolute wide-spread saturation of this comic with this being a first complaint would seem to support that viewpoint. I don't understand why this can't be handled at the parental level. Whatever this person sees as the sexual situations in the book I can't be sure; the nature of Fone Bone's crush on Thorn does initially have something of a sexual element but not an overt one and it's nothing to my memory that isn't safely included in a lot of children's books I read. Here's hoping that DeLay's request is denied flat-out, and if it's not, let's hope that all it does is make kids want to read the work that much more.

Apple Valley is a community of about 50,000 south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink

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