From The Associate Press
By Leanne Italie
NEW YORK — Messages of good health and positive self-esteem for girls aren't hard to come by in kid lit, so what's the deal with all the attention for a not-yet-published rhyming picture book about an obese, unhappy 14-year-old named Maggie?
The title, for
For seconds, like-wildfire circulation of a blurb describing how the bullied girl is transformed through time, exercise and hard work into a popular, confident and average size soccer star. And cover art showing her wistfully holding up a Cinderella dress as she stares at her imagined, much slimmer self in a full-length mirror.
And an inside page, the only one most people have seen, that shows her hunched over the fridge during a two-fisted eating binge.
Thirds? Real teenagers have long moved on from rhyming picture books and the reading level for Hawaii dad Paul Kramer's amateurish, self-published effort is recommended on Amazon for kids ages 4 to 8.
The online mess for Kramer began recently with outraged commenters on Amazon, where pre-orders haven't propelled Maggie anywhere near the top of the rankings. There's now a "savemaggie" hashtag on Twitter, a "Say No to Maggie Goes on a Diet" Facebook page, calls for a boycott and demands that Amazon and Barnes & Noble pull the book.
Kramer won't disclose how many orders he has for Maggie, which isn't out until October. While most of the attention has been negative, he said, there are supporters, like this one who responded to a book basher on Twitter: "She's 14, not 6. Are you seriously suggesting that, with the obesity problem in this country, that a book teaching children to exercise and eat right, is somehow IMMORAL? I bet your fat."
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