The Eeerdman’s Books For Young Readers spring 2015 catalog contains a book titled “Edgar Wants To Be Alone.”
According to the synopsis, Edgar doesn’t like company but notices he is followed by a worm. So he tries to get away from the invertebrate.
The summary reads, “Edgar asks for the other animals on the farm to help him, but eventually he realizes he might have been part of the problem all along.”
One cannot comment definitively without having read the story.
However, the question can be raised why does a children’s book need to paint those that might prefer to be alone to as if they are defective or some kind of villain?
Will there be a sequel to the story teaching the worm about the impropriety of pushing his affections upon those that don’t want them?
Perhaps the text could be titled “Wiggly Worm & The Restraining Order Process Server”.
Some might think that I am reading too much into a children’s book.
Eerrdman’s has published another storybook by the very same author titled “The Chicken’s Build A Wall”.
That book is advertised with the following copy: “At the farm, the chickens are building a wall, convinced that the hedgehog that wandered in must be trouble. But eventually they discover that he might not be as dangerous as they thought.”
Only the most obtuse liberal (of the variety those publishing this propaganda hope children will be indoctrinated into becoming) will refuse to acknowledge the kinds of agendas such a narrative is promoting.
Firstly, just because the first hedgehog is harmless, isn’t it just as much an act of unconscionable prejudice to assume that the next hedgehog is just as affable?
Secondly, if the barnyard or however else you want to categorize their enclosure belongs to the chickens, on what grounds are the chickens obligated to allow the hedgehogs to remain there?
And if the flock does allow the one hedgehog to remain there, are the chickens obligated to allow his entire hovel to take up residence in the chicken coop?
Furthermore, if the hedgehog decides to move into the chicken coop, shouldn’t the hedgehog learn to cluck like a chicken or will the chickens be required to grunt like a hedgehog?
It must also be taken into consideration how many hedgehogs can be allowed to move onto the farm before the farm begins to more resemble a hedgehog burrow rather than the original barnyard.
And perhaps most importantly, since it seems that the perimeter can be breached by an animal as innocuous (we are assured) as a hedgehog, shouldn’t that serve as a warning for those chickens to get that wall erected before creatures of far more nefarious intent such as foxes, wolves, and weasels make their way into the chicken coop?
At that time, will these carnivores form lobbies and activist networks insisting that, since the hedgehog was allowed to take up residence without protest, that they too be allowed to remain even though their intention is to prey upon the chickens and destroy the avian way of life since these species have been in conflict with one another for nearly two millennia?
To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a story can be just a story.
However, when an author or publisher is explicit in conveying didactic propaganda through the medium of a children’s narrative, the discerning should not slink back in fear.
It is because such impressionable young minds are potentially on the line that such concerns must be raised with renewed vigor.
By Frederick Meekins