No Ta-tas or Pee-pees in Children’s Publishing, But Most of All, No Balls?
People I Don’t Want to See Naked: Jeez, there are lots. In fact, I think it’s almost everyone.
The discomfort factor in nudity is for me, as it is for most people, a matter of inappropriateness. Aside from private (extremely private) instances, there are just very few instances of nudity which you can witness in a socially acceptable way.
But of course there are exceptions. Small children running around naked: who cares? They have no conception of why clothes should matter. Nudity means nothing to them. Depictions of the human form in Art: no problem. About beauty rather than sex.
These public nakednesses are the only ones that do not give me an icky feeling. You, too? I thought so.
Which brings us to People You Don’t Want to See Naked People: children, right? Children… young enough that nudity means nothing to them?
Yeah, there’s the problem. Some people seem to take issue with young children seeing depictions of the human form in Art, in spite of the fact that (a) they’re small children and (b) it’s art. It’s like not letting children wander into the woods for fear they might meet a sculpture of a wolf.
This image here is from a book for children just that young– it’s kind of Richard Scarry meets Where’s Waldo. It’s a bestseller in 13 countries, but it almost failed to find a home in the largest children’s book market in the world–the U.S.–because of the two small representations of nudity-in-art that you can see below.
Yes, that’s right. Abstract ta-tas and an itsy pee-pee. That’s what the hoopla over censorship, American prudishness, and Boyds Mill is all about. Boyds Mill dumped the whole four-book series because the author wouldn’t change this image. Sheesh.
Children do not care about this kind of nudity. So guess what? These books have found a home here at Chronicle, and thhpppt to the people so terrified of overprotective parents that they won’t make a good book available to the public.
You’ll see an omnibus edition of the four books by Rotraut Suzanne Berner (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) on our list in Fall 2008, and kids are going to love it.
And the parents with a tendency to hyperventilate can take a deep breath and get over it.
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