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Should a Primary school Bookfair sell Steve Cole's Z Raptor or not?

(26 Posts)
ragged Tue 12-Jul-11 14:00:14

Should I ask the school not to feature this series in their Bookfairs in the future. Cracking good reads (and something to engage older boys?) but very violent. It says "11+" on the back...but who checks age ratings closely at a primary school book fair? What do you think? Here's a very typical excerpt (pgs 184-185, typos mine!):

"Adam crouched behind one of the reptile corpses and saw the Brute, with the hunched back advancing on Harmony, who was sprawled on her back on the grass, tears in her eyes and frozen with terror....

Then a menacing cackling hiss stirred the hackles on his neck as a scorching jet of fluid arrowed over his shoulder past his face. An inarticulate noise escaped his lips as he realised how close he'd come to getting the back of his skull burned open...

The Brute Queen...

Adam saw Harm, still on her back, edging sideways on her elbows towards him. The Brute queen noticed too, swung her head towards Harm and hissed - just as Hunchback lunged forwards and stuck his claws into his flank in a series of swift, razor-like slices. 'Mine!' he barked again.

With a shout more of disbelief than of pain, the queen cuffed Hunchback hard around the jaws and grabbed him in a bearhug. She ground his throat against hte fierce thorns of her chest-quills, opening the flesh in twenty places. Hunchback thrashed and flailed, blood and acid frothing in its throat."

The book also features people killed brutally... it's much more brutal than watching Jurassic Park movies for instance, I think.

SortingHardHat Tue 12-Jul-11 14:01:47

It's no different to an episode of Dr Who really. YABU.

squeakytoy Tue 12-Jul-11 14:06:57

If your child is capable of reading and understanding that book, then they are old enough to be reading it.

ragged Tue 12-Jul-11 14:12:32

Really, Squeakytoy? But what about the standard precocious MNer's child who can read Harry Potter by age 5, you really think it's okay for them to read the above, too?

Dr. Who is still too scarey for my children before age 10 or so. I didn't think that Dr. Who had many dozens of scenes like that each episode (but what do I know... we're too chicken to watch them).

pinkhebe Tue 12-Jul-11 14:15:17

My boys wouldn't find that disturbing, but then ds (11) has been reading the cherub series for the last 18 months ....

pinkhebe Tue 12-Jul-11 14:15:56

In fact I think ds has read it - or it might have been an earlier one

Blu Tue 12-Jul-11 14:16:12

There are presumably 11 year olds in the school, who will enjoy these books.
It is ALWAYS up to parents to have a look and see if reading / TV / DVD material is suitable for your children.

I don't think you should ask the school to not sell these books. What next? Ban Beowulf, The Three Little Pigs, The Pied Piper...

pinkhebe Tue 12-Jul-11 14:17:30

It was z rex he read,

Mandy2003 Tue 12-Jul-11 14:18:12

"Good effort, B-, Needs More Adjectives!"

It sounds like its rather formula written, in the manner of Horrid Henry. Probably suitable for Year 4's and above. Would not bother any child that plays 15-rated games! Does your book fair arrange the books by age so parents can easily steer their DC in the right direction?

musicposy Tue 12-Jul-11 14:19:10

I have an 11 year old (DD, but very into books like this/ dinosaurs/ dragons etc) who would cope with all of the above no problem. But - she is a young Year 7, not primary school and I do think that makes a difference. She would have been able to read the actual words much younger, and I think I would have been unhappy with it at primary level. It's really only since secondary she's gained the maturity to cope with this kind of stuff and take it in her stride.

I guess it's at a primary fair because Year 6 children may cope fine, but given that you will have mostly younger children there, I think YANBU.

LaWeasleyAintWeaselyAnymore Tue 12-Jul-11 14:19:26

Well, if they find it scary they don't have to finish reading it do they?

I would have been totally unmoved by that at age 11. But when as a teenager HP5 came out, I was in floods of tears over Umbridge and her punishments...

It is up to individual children to read what they like, and parents to weed out anything desperately unsuitable (something actively advocating criminal behaviour eg, drug taking would be a lot more of a worry to me)

pinkhebe Tue 12-Jul-11 14:19:37

He also wrote the astrosaurs series. DS didn't think much of it, which suprised me as he's dinosaur mad

redskyatnight Tue 12-Jul-11 14:22:08

I don't think Harry Potter (at least the later ones) is suitable for a 5 year old (actually probably less suitable than the excerpt you've posted) but boasting that your child can read HP now seems to be a parenting milestone. I do think parents should "vet" what their children read for suitability. If a primary book fair, presumably it could "legitimately" have books that were suitable for a 9-10 year old that would be completely unsuitable for a 4 year old.

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 14:24:04

Dd's class read Macbeth in Yr 6. Now there is a highly inappropriate story for you!

When it comes to bookfairs, I think it is up to the parents to decide what is right for their child- if every book has to be right for every child who might attend the book fair, you'd have an awful lot of disgruntled 11yos making paper swallows out of flower fairy books.

ragged Tue 12-Jul-11 14:28:14

I guess they are arranged for age suitability at the fair; I am usually too busy keeping an eye on the destructive impulses of the younger ones to notice.

Okay, I'll go with majority view and not say anything & be more critical in future about what they can get at primary age book fair; I really couldn't decide if I was being nambypamby. Jacqueline Wilson books don't even come with age ratings on the back, and I'm having to quarrel with 9yo about access to some of them. I will have to make a mental note to be wary of Steve Cole in future. DS already read The Aztec Code at age 8 (that features sex scenes and drugs, along with lots of violence). He picked that one up in the public library & even their librarian agreed it didn't belong in the Junior section when I pointed out some sections to her.

I'm not worried about upsetting DS, but rather desensitising him to violence; that's the unhealthy part. And no, my primary school age children don't actually get to play computer games rated 15+ (but that's another debate).

Mind, I think plenty of MNers would be unbothered if their primary age children read American Psycho... sad

Blu Tue 12-Jul-11 14:50:03

But you can't expect the school book fair to restrict books to the age range your child is reading!
Lots of writers cover several differnt age ranges.

I didn't think Spy Dog was the best for DS when he was 7 - drugs, domestic violence, drunken adults.

sausagesandmarmelade Tue 12-Jul-11 14:53:05

It's not to my taste...but there could be older kids going who would enjoy it...or adults?

HeadfirstForHalos Tue 12-Jul-11 14:54:12

I'd be happy for my eldest dd (nearly 9) to read that, it wouldn't scare her at all.

I was working my way through Stephen Kings novels when I was 11....

HeadfirstForHalos Tue 12-Jul-11 14:55:23

I wouldn't let her read American Psycho though grin

Trygg Tue 12-Jul-11 15:59:20

When I was younger I had a really high reading age so was taking at reading time two school years up to choose from their books, so was always reading stuff that was 'too old'. Thing is its not necessarily the content but the childs imangination-we can all imagine that in a graphic way because we've seen all sorts of dodgy horror films etc etc, but a youngish child will imagine it in a more simple way. (i certainly did).

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 16:25:04

I am not sure that reading Macbeth aged 11 did desensitize my dd to violence. Quite possibly the book you quoted from wouldn't have either- though it might have desensitized her to bad prose.

The problem is that the world is not divided into protective parents and anything-goes parents: most of us have something we consider unsuitable but it won't be the same for every parent. Or indeed for every child. I am relatively lax about sexual references but quite uptight about gratuitous violence or violence-seen-as-a-positive thing. Other mums of my acquaintance are very sensitive to swear words (even words they might use themselves) or the slightest hint of sexuality. And of course what is the right level for a 6yo boy will be totally different from what is right for an 11yo girl. So how do the poor schools manage it? If they are to reduce the book fair to the lowest common denominator there won't be a lot left to read.

Personally, I don't see why keeping an eye on what your ds buys at a book fair is so much worse than keeping an eye on him in a bookshop. And they have all kinds of books.

Afraid arguing with your dc about whether you consider Jacqueline Wilson suitable or not is your job and nobody else's.

AMumInScotland Tue 12-Jul-11 16:31:00

People may not check the rating on the back, but the picture on the front looks scary enough (in the version which comes up on Amazon anyway) to give children and their parents an idea of what to expect.

Acandlelitshadow Tue 12-Jul-11 16:42:01

If it's 11+, it's age appropriate for Year 6. Up to those forking out to decide if it's appropriate for their DC.

zeeboo Tue 12-Jul-11 17:13:56

My big kids would all have been fine with that from age 7. We don't censor literature here unless it's incredibly explicit and thankfully none of them are scared of anything fictional.

ragged Tue 12-Jul-11 18:34:22

Like I said, it's not about whether DS was upset or scared.
I think it's about how disturbing I find it that DS thinks it wasn't a disturbing read at all. Lots of violence as entertainment for 11yos? I'm not truly comfortable with that. sad

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