Jodi - posted on 10/23/2009 ( 23 moms have responded )
DON'T PUT HUMPTY DUMPTY BACK TOGETHER AGAIN
A children's literature expert says changes made to the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty are part of a worrying trend in society.
In the United Kingdom, the BBC is under fire for rewriting Humpty Dumpty to give it a happy ending on the CBeebies children's program Something Special.
Instead of the last line saying "couldn't put Humpty together again", the new version claimed all the King's horses and all the King's men "made Humpty happy again".
June Factor, who has spent nearly four decades researching and writing children's books, says such moves to "sanitise" story-telling is very concerning.
"It's a sad sort of ignorance involved. It's completely unnecessary, it's a misjudgement and it's foolishness," she told ABC News Online.
"I am concerned about this misunderstanding and misreading of human development, and in many ways there are quite serious restrictions being placed on children.
"It's a worrying trend because there is, in countries like England and Australia, a strange panic about children.
"The idea is that children should be protected against all risk and in this case they are seeing a psychological risk. On the contrary, it's a psychological strengthening you gain from this material."
Dr Factor, an honorary senior research fellow at the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne, says unnecessary changes have been made to children's tales for generations.
And she says those who "bowdlerise" children's literature do have good intentions, but they are missing the cultural and historical point of nursery rhymes and fairytales.
"Their intentions are always admirable - the path to hell is paved with good intentions. They are hoping to make sure children aren't frightened but of course they are omitting the purpose," she said.
"[Nursery rhymes] are not there as a cotton ball to protect children from the world. They are a way of exposing children to the world from the safety of someone's lap."
Dr Factor says scary tales are meant to teach children about dangers in the world.
"Fairytales are full of very grim life experiences - dead parents, being left in the woods, there's tricksters and dangers - and what they do for children is a whole number of things," she said.
"It's a way of approaching the world for children in symbolic ways so they do gain some understanding of the world but they don't actuallty have to go out and experience the big bad wolf or whatever.
"They are about courage, resilience, quick-wittedness, patience and they are all about hope."
What are your thoughts?