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RE: Dino books





BettyCunningham(Flyinggoat@aol.com) wrote: 

>>I notice you're all skipping children's books. What about Dinotopia?  I think
>>James Gurney did an outstanding job in representing dinosaurs for kids, AND I
>>know of very few adult dino addicts that don't have a copy stashed away
>>somewhere.

And Larry Smith (larrys@zk3.dec.com) wrote:
>I have Dinotopia, and I enjoyed it, but I have very mixed feelings
>about it.  I found the book to be an intensely political allegory,
>and I object to politics hewn to appeal to children.  It gifted
>dinosaurs with an intelligence and culture entirely inappropriate
>to their nature - and the attempts to fit large carnivours into
>this carefully-crafted pastoral vegetarian world are clumsy to the
>point that what little disbelief I'd managed to suspend at that
>point fell in shards.  I like the artwork.  But the story was the
>absolute pits, fashioned only to sell a thinly-veiled socialism to
>children using dinosaurs to dress it up.  Picture the Teenage
>Mutant Ninja Turtles wearing swastikas or Barney singing "white is
>good, white is we, we're all one white family..."  No.  That's the
>last dinosaur book _my_ kids will see.

  While I can agree that most, if not all, children's books employ some
degree of social bias of the author, I also think that it is necessary to
get as much of a multiplicity of "slants" out for children; otherwise, we
risk cranking out bland, intensely boring material.  Larry pointed out that,
in his opinion, _Dinotopia_ sold "thinly-veiled socialism" to children.
 While we could argue the degree of political indoctrination that this book
purportedly espouses, it is important to note that the more differing
non-violent viewpoints children are allowed to read, the more critical and 
discerning readers they become as adults. While I am not in favor of children 
reading _Dinosaur Nazis_, (if such a book ever made it past the publishers), I 
see no problem in letting kids watch "Jurassic Park" (which, we could all
agree, is a political/social agenda movie that criticizes the dangers of
genetic engineering...very timely in light of the Govt.-funded Human Genome
Project). But then, I liked _Jurassic Park_, but not for it's politics.
  If I am not mistaken, Maurice Sendak's book _Where the Wild Things Are_,
was also critcized a few years ago as being "too political".  Unfortunately,
I don't remember the details of the complaints.  In short, the old sage,
"if it's publishable, it's probably going to rankle someone" is as true today
as it has always has been.