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Are the ‘Magic Tree House’ Books Too Scary for Kindergartners in Arlington?

A Wednesday meeting will address the district’s new kindergarten curriculum, which has come under fire from local parents.

'Magic Tree House #5: Night of the Ninjas'
'Magic Tree House #5: Night of the Ninjas'

A group of Arlington parents has questioned whether the district’s new Tools of the Mind kindergarten curriculum, and now the district is holding a Wednesday meeting to address the issue.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Thompson Elementary School.

The parents’ main concern is the curriculum’s use of the “Magic Tree House” book series by Mary Pope Osborne.

According to the parents, the books all have elements of violence, danger and frightening characters, which they believe aren’t appropriate for kindergartners.

The parents also say the books are racially biased with the two main Caucasian characters throughout the series and racial/cultural stereotypes, such as a Japanese ninja.

For more on the Tools of the Mind curriculum, visit its website.

Hokey Wolf February 11, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Oh this is absolutely hilarious.. moon bats at their best
Laurie February 12, 2014 at 09:29 AM
This is ludicrous! My son is in kindergarten and he loves these books, they aren't in the least bit scary. We have them at home as well so I've read them myself. What an unbelievable waste of time this is; I'm so offended that with all of the things we have to think about for the well-being of our children, this is what we choose to concentrate on. And BTW, I'm one of the "moonbats" to which the nasty regulars on this site always refer.
Menotomy Observer February 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM
I dunno Laurie, I found Destroying Dresden During the Day where Jack and Annie firebomb Dresden during WWII pretty horrific. What about the Magic Tree House classic Raping Nanking in the Spring? My five year old could have been spared the graphic details of that atrocity. I do have to admit that the Flying Flight 93 into Shanksville on a Tuesday was informative.
Donald Mei February 12, 2014 at 11:05 PM
Bill, As a resident of Arlington with a child in Kindergarten, I agree with you completely. I agree with you that the Jack and annie firebomb Dresden shold not be reas. I also take offense to "Jack and Annie make a long flight in the Enola Gay" In all seriousness this meeting was not supposed to be only about these books. It was an information session on the entire curriculum, which is much much more than just these books. I attended the meeting tonight and another parent presented his case about how he thought the books were a bit too frightening. Interestingly, his comment was in the abstract. He never said "This book scares my child". It was all supposition that "these books might be too scary for some children". I respectfully disagreed with him, expressing to the parents that my 4 year old in pre-school as well as my Kindergartner really enjoy the books. The goal here is not to expose the children to great literature. Its to expose them to literature that will ENGAGE them. And these books definitely engage the children. I also acknowledged that all children are different and that no parent should hesitate to withhold a book that frightens their child. But I don't see this as a big problem with these books. The content is certainly no more frightening than almost any Disney movie. Yes the main characters are white and middle class. (Hmm. Just like Arlington) So what. The other cultures that they visit are celebrated. Also, Annie is the brave, smart one. Jack just kind of does what she says. So the "no sexism" box is checked also. Re the "moonbattiness" of many attendees. I don't really see how it affects things. I've found that people across the political spectrum tend to WAAAAYYY overthink things when it comes to their children.
Hokey Wolf February 13, 2014 at 06:45 AM
Donald I just think these people wanna live in a world where there is no violence and want to think that it doesn't exist . Unfortunately it does . I don't belive that children should be exposed either but come on its a kids book. I bet these people are the same who don't let their kids watch Tom and Jerry either because it's too violent . These people need to get a life

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