Toronto Public Library asked to pull Dr. Seuss book 'Hop on Pop'
A popular tale by Dr. Seuss was one of seven books that patrons have asked Toronto Public Library to remove from its collection over the past year.
A library patron asked the library's materials review committee to pull "Hop on Pop," a children's classic written in 1963, because of the book's violent themes.
"The complaint was that it was violent and encouraged children to be violent with their fathers," Vickery Bowles, the Toronto Public Library’s director of collections management, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
The patron recommended the book be removed, and requested the Toronto Public Library not only apologize to Greater Toronto Area fathers but pay damages resulting from the book's violent message.
The book was ultimately retained in the Toronto Public Library’s children’s collection after members of the review committee decided that the book was designed to engage children, and that the story actually advises children against hopping on their fathers.
Bowles said the committee reviewed the book based on its content, as well as the reputation of its author, Theodor Seuss Geisel. The American writer was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his contribution to the education of young children.
In his 1963 classic, Seuss wrote: "HOP POP We like to hop. We like to hop on top of Pop. STOP You must not hop on Pop."
"Hop on Pop" was one of seven titles named in the list.
Bowles said the library’s review committee takes each book complaint "very seriously," but said its still "surprising" when an award-winning book is flagged by a patron for its content.
Another children's book, "Lizzy's Lion," by Dennis Lee, was described as violent and disturbing. The book tells the story of a girl whose pet lion saves her from a robber by eating him. The library committee decided that the theme of the book was empowerment and the lion represented inner strength. The committee decided to keep the book in the library's collection.
"Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot," by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, was said to contain falsehoods, because it concludes that U.S. president John F. Kenedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald alone, rather than by a group of conspirators.
The library ruled that the book would stay on shelves, because the theory that Oswald acted alone is one of the currently accepted versions of the assassination, and the library also loans books disputing the conclusion.
The audiobook "A Kiss Remembered" by Sandra Brown was described as obscene, but the library kept the book because it is in high demand.
"Complete Hindi," an adult language learning kit by Rupert Snell, was said to contain inaccuracies, but the library committee wrote that they had consulted a professor of Hindi language and literature and decided to keep the book in its collection.
Murder mystery novel "Flesh House," by Stuart MacBride, was described as "shocking and disturbing," but the library decided to keep it because it had received a number of awards and had circulated well.
A DVD copy of "That's My Boy," starring Adam Sandler, showed "sick and illegal behaviour," a patron complained. However, the committee wrote that the customer had only watched 10 minutes of the movie, and felt that the rest of the film explained the repercussions of the behaviour. The film is rated 18A and cannot be borrowed by anyone under the age of 18.