Submitter: This is a “sensitive” story about Rita who is overweight. Rita has to face being weighed in front of her entire class and being told she needs to go on a diet. She then is bullied by her classmates in art class and swim class. She uses food to deal with her emotions. But after some effort, Rita finally looses weight where she is told she is a healthy girl and no one bullies her anymore.
This book came to our attention after a horrified story time mom found it on the shelf. The book has not circulated in at least ten years. I took the time to read the book and the story has a lot of mixed messages. Childhood obesity is certainly an important, but complex topic, that would be difficult to tell in a short children’s story. A lot of things are glossed over like bullying and self-esteem. The doctor says she needs a diet at one weight and then after losing only 5 pounds she is suddenly healthy. I don’t know how one writes a book for kids on this topic, but this one is not it.
Holly: Books like this bother me more than just about any other thing. Jennifer Jean the Cross-Eyed Queen got her eyes fixed and suddenly had friends. Maggie went on a diet and suddenly had friends. Make it stopppppp!