May 7, 2014
Toronto Public Library says “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss does not promote violence toward fathers
by Claire Kelley
After receiving a complaint that children’s book Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss “encourages children to use violence toward their fathers,” the Toronto Public Library reviewed the book, and denied the request to remove it from the shelves. “The book is a humorous and well-loved children’s book designed to engage children while teaching them reading skills,” the Materials Review Committee concluded.
In addition, the library added: “The children are actually told not to hop on pop.”
The idea that someone could ask a library to ban the beloved children’s book has caused such an uproar that the story has been picked up by CNN and TIME Magazine. Both of those sources cite the fact that former librarian and First Lady Laura Bush publicly admitted that Hop on Pop did actually encourage violence toward President George W. Bush. In a list of her favorite books in the Wall Street Journal, she said:
Among children’s books, Hop on Pop has a lot of personal meaning for me. It features Dr. Seuss’s typically wonderful illustrations and rhymes (“SEE BEE THREE Now we see three”), of course, but the main thing for me is the family memory — the loving memory— that the book evokes of George lying on the floor and reading it to our daughters, Barbara and Jenna. They were little bitty things, and they took “Hop on Pop” literally, and jumped on him—we have the pictures to prove it.
The Toronto Public Library Materials Review Committee also received complaints about Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly (“Contains falsehoods because it concludes Kennedy was killed by Oswald alone”), A Kiss Remembered by Sandra Brown (“Obscene and offends current societal morality”), and Adam Sandler film That’s My Boy (“Shows sick and illegal behavior and depicts it as humorous”), among others.
All books that received complaints and were reviewed in the 2013 meeting were retained in the the adult or children’s collections.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.