Kids, News

Stop! You Must Not Ban “Hop on Pop”!

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Cartoon about Dr. Seuss. Image: CCBYSA
Cartoon about Dr. Seuss. Image: CCBYSA

A customer of the Toronto Public Library thinks the Dr. Seuss book Hop on Pop should be removed from the library’s collection because it encourages children to use violence against their fathers.

Part of the book reads: “Hop. Pop. We like to hop. We like to hop on top of Pop.” Along with the text, there is a picture of two furry creatures jumping on their father’s stomach.

The customer who complained thinks the library should apologize to all fathers in the Greater Toronto Area and pay for any harm they might have suffered as a result of the book.

People who object to any materials in the library’s collection can make a written request to have that material taken off the shelves. Library staff will review the request and make a decision based on the library’s policy for choosing books.

Under this policy, the library tries to choose materials that are of interest to its customers, that represent varying points of view, and that reflect “current conditions, trends and controversies.”

Once a year, the library releases a list of items that customers have objected to in the past 12 months. At its board meeting in April, the library announced there were seven items on the list for 2013.

Two of these were non-fiction books which customers said were not accurate. There were also complaints about a DVD, an audiobook, a novel and two children’s books. Customers said these items contained shocking, violent or offensive material.

One customer thought that the picture book Lizzy’s Lion was too violent and disturbing for children. The book is by Canadian poet Dennis Lee, who also wrote Alligator Pie. It tells the story of a girl whose pet lion saves her from a robber by eating him.

After reviewing the material that customers had complained about, the library staff said that none of the items would be removed. They said that while some people might object to those items, many other people enjoyed them. The items had also been given good reviews by critics, and they were found in many other libraries.

Toronto Public Library staff noted that Dr. Seuss is a well-respected children’s author. They said Hop on Pop is intended to be humorous and to keep children entertained while teaching them to read. They also pointed out that the children in the book are actually told they must not hop on Pop.

Related sites

YouTube video of Hop on Pop.

Classic children’s books that have been banned in the United States.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Once a year, the library reviews complaints about books that some people think are inappropriate. Then they decide if any of these books should be banned.

Do you think some books should be banned from public libraries? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Based on the information from this article, do you agree with the library’s decision not to ban the book, Hop on Pop? Why or why not?

Express personal thoughts and feelings about what has been read (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Language Feature: Rhymes
Dr. Seuss is famous for his rhyming books. He wrote inventive and often silly rhymes to get children interested in reading.

Part of the books says, “Hop. Pop. We like to hop. We like to hop on top of Pop.” Create and write the next 5 lines to this story. Remember to use rhyming words!