All right. I took my own challenge. I have finally managed to read a book I hadn’t read before that has been banned or contested somewhere. Before I tell you which one, I would like to point out that I’ve read a bunch of new books that I think will get contested or that I’m surprised haven’t been contested.

So, here’s my book. Drum roll, please.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig.

I know what you’re thinking. You haven’t read this before? And it’s true. I hadn’t. I wasn’t read to much as a kid, and once I could read not at all. I missed the whole picture book part of youth, which is probably why I don’t have a lot of interest in them today. There just isn’t a whole cache of fond picture book memories floating around my brain.

However, I broke away from my usual comfort zone and read a picture book. And I enjoyed it. It’s a classic, award winner for a reason.

Now the text is too long for a modern picture book. Picture books are still trending to the minimal word to wordless picture book with long stories like Sylvester becoming rare. However, that doesn’t make Sylvester any less charming.

I also enjoyed the change in point of view in the story. Flipping back and forth between Sylvester the stone and his parents gives added depth to the plot. After all, it wouldn’t be all that interesting to follow Sylvester’s month as a rock. Nowadays, though, books are more rigid in their viewpoints.

In fact, Sylvester reads more like a fairy tale than a modern picture book. I loved reading it, and I recommend it to others.

And if you were wondering why it was banned, police associations in 12 states asked librarians to remove the book because the police in it were drawn as pigs. Now, all the characters are animals, and the police are not portrayed negatively, but on the page they appear, they are drawn as pigs.

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.