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Smoking in the new Julia Donaldson book

(64 Posts)
CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 13:36:27

Has anyone got The Scarecrow's Wedding, the new book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schaeffler?

My gran wants to get it for DS1 because she bought him Room on the Broom, which he loves.

Just looked it up on Amazon and lots of reviewers saying it's got a reference to smoking in it shock confused and that they thought it was really inappropriate.

Are they over-reacting? I have to say I don't really fancy having to explain smoking to a three-year-old, and DS1 would almost definitely pick up on it ('Mummy, what's he doing?').

I can't get to a bookshop to actually look at it for a couple of weeks but she wants to get it for him ASAP so if anyone has a view I'd love to hear it.

SolomanDaisy Fri 01-Aug-14 13:39:54

It sounds unusual in a modern kids book! But your three year-old will have seen people smoking before, so I don't necessarily think it will be a problem.

SavoyCabbage Fri 01-Aug-14 13:40:56

I don't know but when my dd was four she appeared in the living room with a 20cm long paper tube, the width of a straw, with a triangle of orange paper Sellotaped to the end, jammed in her mouth.

She'd seen someone smoking and decided to fashion herself a cigarette.

littleblackno Fri 01-Aug-14 13:44:08

If you're that worried why don't you ask her to get another Julia Donaldson book? There are lots out there and they are all fantastic!

FrogStomp Fri 01-Aug-14 13:45:21

Ds has just read a Roald Dahl book called The Witches, the Gran in it smokes a black cigar. Tbh DS never talked about this bit in the book, he knows that smoking is bad for you and when he sees people smoking in the street he asks 'why do they smoke' we've explained that some people don't want to smoke but they find it a struggle to stop. Of course it's easier to explain to a 7 year old but your dc will see people smoking throughout their lives so I don't see the harm with it being in a book imo.

HeySoulSister Fri 01-Aug-14 13:45:44

Are they eating ice cream? Or sugar of some sort also?

If this is the case then I think it's pretty bad

NitramAtTheKrap Fri 01-Aug-14 13:48:17

I read it in Tesco but rejected it because it's a tale of man scarecrow saves woman scarecrow.

She has written many better ones.

CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 13:50:19

littleblack She saw it on TV so she's keen to get this one because it's the newest one. He's got loads of other JD books which we all love.

I'm just curious as to what the reference is, because nearly all the reviews mention it, and people seem really shock about it.

I'm not sure DS1 has seen people smoking. Nobody in the family does, and smoking is a lot rarer nowadays. I guess he might have seen it in the street but he hasn't properly registered it AFAIK. If it's in a book he'd be much more likely to pick up on it.

CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 13:51:38

Savoy grin

I remember pretending to smoke those little sugar cigarettes with the red ends shock

So not only are they smoking but they're smoking in the presence of dry straw?! grin

NitramAtTheKrap Fri 01-Aug-14 13:54:28


Man and lady scarecrow fall in love.
Man scarecrow wanders off to do something
Other raffish man scarecrow comes along and tries it on with lady scarecrow
Smoke cigarette, sets fire to lady scarecrow, runs away
Man scarecrow comes back and put out fire, saving lady scarecrow
They get married.

CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 13:56:56

Cripes, Nitram. So the cigarette is integral to the plot, then.

Sounds a bit hmm

CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 13:57:27

Stealth grin

wigglesrock Fri 01-Aug-14 13:59:09

I've had a quick flick at the reviews, is it a cigar? Although a few of the reviews are also complaining that there's too much kissing in it - I cannot for the life of me fathom why too much kissing would even register as an issue. I wouldn't worry about it all, but my kids see people smoke, their great grannies, older relatives and some younger ones smoke.

blueskiesandflowers Fri 01-Aug-14 14:01:46

I bought it and was quite shocked does make reference to it being a bad habit

CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 14:03:48

Agree about the kissing, wiggles, unless there are tongues (do scarecrows have tongues?). Maybe it's a post-coital cigarette?

Adikia Fri 01-Aug-14 14:05:01

From the reviews it looks like she's explaining why smoking is bad which I can't see a problem with. I smoke though so its probably less of an issue to me than it is for a non-smoker (I never smoke near my DC but they've seen me go outside/walk up to the other end of the garden to smoke)

Suppose it makes the point that its dangerous but still

wrapsuperstar Fri 01-Aug-14 14:06:53

It's the two blokes/damsel in distress plot that is disappointing from JD.

The smoking in the book is presented as a foolish and negative thing to do, no glorification or anything.

squoosh Fri 01-Aug-14 14:07:25

I think only Julia Donaldson, current reigning queen of the picture book kingdom, would get away with this. A first time writer would be told 'no way' by their editor.

But from the description I don't think I'd have a problem with this book.

EmberElftree Fri 01-Aug-14 14:08:13

Ha ha that's exactly what I thought CountBapula

kelda Fri 01-Aug-14 14:10:28

really, a scarecrowman gets rejected by the scarewoman so he sets fire to her? shock

CountBapula Fri 01-Aug-14 14:10:34

I can see that she's not glorifying it or anything.
I'm just not sure I even want to have the conversation now, tbh.

FuckTheseSixFishInParticular Fri 01-Aug-14 14:10:45

Yep, smoking in the presence of dry straw, with inevitable consequences. So at least it's an anti smoking message! hmm

I wouldn't call it a reference though, because it's actually a fairly major plot point for the story, so it's pretty prominent.

We heard it at a story time thing a couple of weeks ago, and no one here has since given the smoking thing a second thought (including me, tbh), but I can see how some might.

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