Why Review Where’s Waldo? Glad you asked. The American Library Association (ALA) keeps track of the most-challenged books. A “challenge” to a book means that someone has screamed out that the book is too______. You may choose and insert your own adjective. The harmless Where’s Waldo? found itself in the top 100 challenged books between 1990-2000.
I know I know I know. I almost peed my pants it was so ridiculous.
Challenged books are usually accused of being:
- Too sexual, either for the intended age group or just because (Gossip Girl)
- Unchristian, atheistic, or downright Satanic (Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark)
- Homosexual in nature (And Tango Makes Three). This book features penguins.
- Too druggy and violent (The Outsiders)
- Too awesome and timeless and amazing (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Where Does Where’s Waldo? fit in?
The Where’s Waldo? books feature:
- A guy with glasses wearing a striped shirt and hat
- This guy appears on every page in a crowd of people. Lots of them.
- You try to find him.
That doesn’t sound too scandalous
Nope. Sounds like we’re on the same page. Good for us! These books are as harmless as it gets. I see plenty of them at work and I have looked through them all trying to find something objectionable. No luck yet.
So why was it challenged?
More than one person has claimed in voices both shrill and hysterical that Where’s Waldo? is full of “adult hidden pictures.” You got it. Words like “a bare breast” and “topless sunbathers” get thrown around a bit. The claims seem groundless to me.
What is the lesson here?
There are a couple:
- Don’t write books or people will ban them
- If hardcore porn is distasteful to you, you can get a nice mellow titillation from WW?
- I’m a really low-level pervert, I guess. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for the naughty bits without any luck. (But on the other hand, I don’t feel guilty)
This isn’t Snopes or Mythbusters, but I’m going to file this one under trivial conspiracy theories along with:
- The Munchkin suicide when Dorothy sets off down the Yellow Brick Road
- The cursing monkey from Aladdin.
- Bloody Mary
- Dark Side of The Rainbow: Wizard of Oz/Pink Floyd collaboration
Someone will always find a way to complain. Nothing is 100% hysteria- or controversy-proof. Take a look at my Where The Wild Things Are book review if you’re looking for more.
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