Is Curious George canceled? Right-wing news site claims so after 6 Dr Seuss books end publication over racism

The books in question are ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’, ‘If I Ran the Zoo’, ‘McElligot’s Pool’, ‘The Cat’s Quizzer’, ‘Scrambled Eggs Super!’, and ‘On Beyond Zebra!’. The decision to cease publication came from Dr. Seuss Enterprises


                            Is Curious George canceled? Right-wing news site claims so after 6 Dr Seuss books end publication over racism
A 'Curious George' book sits on a table on August 1, 2001, in New York City (Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, March 2, Curious George was trending on Twitter with many people asking for the beloved children's character to not be canceled. Earlier today, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy, said that six of his books will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery.

The books in question are ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’, ‘If I Ran the Zoo’, ‘McElligot’s Pool’, ‘The Cat’s Quizzer’, ‘Scrambled Eggs Super!’, and ‘On Beyond Zebra!’. The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was reportedly made last year after months of discussion.

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Dr. Seuss's never-before-published book, "What Pet Should I Get?" is seen on display on the day it is released for sale at the Books and Books store on July 28, 2015, in Coral Gables, United States. (Getty Images)

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press in a statement. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”

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“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics, and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” the company added.

What does Curious George have to do with this?

In response to this report, the Twitter account for The Daily Caller, a right-wing news and opinion website founded by now Fox News host Tucker Carlson and conservative political pundit Neil Patel, wrote on the social media site: “Curious George is cancelled”. This was followed by many others objecting to this. 

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Curious George is the main character of a series of popular children's books and TV episodes of the same name, written by Margret and H. A. Rey. So why did The Daily Caller claim it was canceled?

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The excerpt from the report highlighted by the right-wing website was about other children’s books and characters who have had racist undertones. The Associated Press reported that in the 2007 book ‘Should We Burn Babar?’, the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the ‘Babar the Elephant’ books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to ‘civilize’ his fellow animals.

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AP said that one of the books, ‘Babar’s Travels’, was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. The report added that in the past, critics had also contended that in the ‘Curious George' books, the premise was that of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.

Children read from "The Cat in the Hat" book at a ceremony honoring the late children's book author Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 11, 2004, in Hollywood, California. (Getty Images)

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Curious George’s racism may be debatable but some of Dr. Seuss’s books are not. In ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’, an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ includes a drawing of two barefoot African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.

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Earlier today, contradicting a 20-year-old tradition, President Joe Biden avoided any mention of Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day, which is celebrated on the author's birthday itself. Though there is yet to be any official explanation from the White House on the move, it is believed to be in relation to the racist connotations in Dr. Seuss's literature. Biden's action comes after Virginia's Loudon County Public Schools (LCPS) omitted the creator of characters like Grinch, Horton, Cat in a Hat, and Yertle the Turtle from reading lists on Read Across America Day. 

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