Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Elephants Don't Need to Go to the Gym!

The version I own
Every summer, when we went to our country house, I would read The Saggy Baggy Elephant, a story about a lonely young elephant, Sookie, who is made to feel bad about his wrinkly skin by the other jungle animals.  The book ends with Sookie meeting a whole herd of elephants and realizing that elephants are supposed to have saggy, baggy, wrinkly skin.
The version I saw at the book fair

So I was excited to see the book at my school book fair.  Yes, the cover looked a little different than the one I remembered, but I figured that was just marketing, tapping into the huge market for beginning readers.

Unfortunately, I failed to notice the little "adapted by" notation on the cover.

I opened it and skimmed it until I got to this spread:

Whereupon I was horrified.  The tiger is not saggy because he "stays fit"?  No, the tiger is not saggy because he is a tiger!  Not only is the book now body-shaming elephants and implying they need to exercise and "stay fit," but the ending of the book remains unchanged, thereby making no sense!  If elephants are supposed to be saggy, then they are not saggy because they do not "stay fit." Elephants do not need to go to the gym (although it conjure up a funny image in my mind of a class of elephants jazzercising! - perhaps there's another picture book, right there!).

Why, oh why, do publshers tamper with perfectly good books?  Why?

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