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Wisconsin school board member wants Muppets book banned

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 8:42 AM

Kermit the Frog has the author’s credit on “For Every Child, A Better World,” which was actually written by late Muppet creator Jim Henson.Greg Williams/Disney

Kermit the Frog has the author’s credit on “For Every Child, A Better World,” which was actually written by late Muppet creator Jim Henson.

It’s not easy being green.

A Marshfield, Wisc. school board member wants to prevent kindergartners from reading a book by Muppet legend Kermit because it’s too graphic about poverty and is part of a curriculum that does not sufficiently highlight American “exceptionalism.”

Mary Carney slammed the book, “For Every Child a Better World,” which was really written by Jim Henson and published with the United Nations, for its drawings of suffering children, including one of a kid living in a box in the rain.

She’ll take her concerns to a school board meeting Wednesday in hopes of having the book banned.

“I just have concerns that it’s too graphic, even though these are Muppets characters,” Carney told the Marshfield News Herald. “Unfortunately in this world there is a lot of war and strife and poverty; I understand that. I just don’t know how appropriate that is to be teaching that to 5-year-olds.

The plan called for teachers to start reading the book aloud to students early next year in hopes of teaching them how to be good citizens.

Kermit narrates the book, which “teaches young readers about the plight of young children who lack the basic human necessities and the efforts of the United Nations to provide such essentials as housing, water, food, and medical aid,” according to Amazon.com.

Carney believes poverty was "too graphic" a topic for kindergarden students. Hub-City Times

Carney believes poverty was “too graphic” a topic for kindergarden students. 

The 14 customer reviews on Amazon are mostly positive, with many parents lamenting that the 1993 book is out of print.

“What a beautiful book!” raved one customer. “It is so powerful in presenting these statements, yet the use of Muppet characters does not present a grotesque picture for young children.”

Another review recommended it, adding, “I just can’t understand how this book escaped all the literary awards and media attention that other books have earned.”

But not every kid can handle the truth.

“My parents read this book to me as a child, I am now 28. The illustrations left me traumatized,” says Amazon commenter Jeremiah Moberly. “It comes from a great place and teaches valuable understanding about the world around us, but a little sad at times.

That aligns with Carney, who was elected to the Marshfield school board in April. She has also complained that the social studies curriculum “downplays American exceptionalism” by focusing too much on global affairs.

But the Marshfield school board vice president Amber Leifheit says that Carney is the only one in the district to express concern about the Muppets book.

“Looking at it, I do not have concerns,” Leifheit told the Marshfield News Herald. “It shows compassion for people other than yourself. That’s a good thing.”

npesce@nydailynews.com

Tags:
wisconsin ,
the muppets ,
children’s books ,
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