Friday Fiction: Addie Accident

Addie Accident coverAddie Accident
Corlett
2010

Submitter: My local public library in Australia sells weeded books for 20c each. I sometimes buy children’s books for a holiday program book corner. Usually they are fine, but I always examine them more closely before donating them. Thank goodness I did look more closely at ‘Addie Accident’. The cover and basic story are cute and magical, but some of the events are not appropriate for that type of book and overall message of the book is problematic.

Basically Addie is accident prone, bullied, unkind to other children and acts without thinking. And fat, which is portrayed as a fault caused by her greediness. She imagines a friend called Hapless Hubert who becomes real, and they attempt to make a potion to cure themselves. Eventually Addie realises she can fix herself – including getting thinner, bringing justice to the main two bullies and recklessly saving her neighbour from a fire against safety guidelines from the fire department, without using the spell.

Not before she causes a different fire by disposing of a lit cigarette she smoked, gets in trouble at school and has her room searched for making bomb threats to other children and has many life threatening accidents while trespassing in dangerous places and antagonising wildlife. She also says her sister thinks her mum makes a dick of herself and sticks her fingers up at her classmates. A real 11 year old might do all these things in a grittier book, but given the tone of the book is cutsie and magical in a way that would appeal to 8 to 10 year olds these actions are not appropriate to this book. Addie still believes in fairies and imagination land. I feel she should not be expected to solve all her problems through personal responsibility! She needs professional help and no more fat shaming from mum.

Holly: This is held by all kinds of libraries in Australia and New Zealand! Can’t imagine it goes over well with parents. You could maybe get away with it in the Teen collection, but it is definitely questionable!

Addie Accident excerpt Addie Accident excerpt Addie Accident excerpt Addie Accident excerpt

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13 comments

    1. I particularly love how Mum is blaming Addie for food SHE is clearly buying the poor kid! Here’s an idea lady, don’t fill your cupboards with chips, lollies and fizzy drink and then be surprised your children are eating them!

      +1
  1. I guess “chippies” means something Down Under that is different from what it means here! (In words suitable for work/children, “floozies” here.)

    But yes, looks like a bad book for a young child.

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    1. I know in the UK it’s slang for a fish-n-chips shop. According to the internet in Australia it’s slang for a carpenter or the youngest member on staff. But in this case they probably are using the UK definition.

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    2. As a New Zealander, it definitely means French fries. (As you say, it can also be a nickname for carpenters as well.) I haven’t heard the definition of the word you mention!

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  2. The cover art looks like it’s more than forty years old! I was confused reading through your plot summary how such things would get into a ’60s or ’70s children’s book in the first place.

    “She wasn’t just accident-prone. She was a true dumbo.” That’s a great line though.

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    1. I would have put that cover in the 60’s or 70’s as well. Possibly even the 50’s.

      Nothing attracts the tweens of today like a cover that screams “handed down from grandma”.

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  3. Does “making a complete dick…” also have a different meaning where this book is from? Seeing that in a child’s book is a shock. *I* don’t even use the term in casual conversation, and I am not a prude.

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    1. I’ve heard and used the term “dick around” meaning foolishness, loose concentration, treating things unseriously. “Don’t dick around when reshelving, you might put the wrong book and no one will be able to find a 709 in the 300s!”

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  4. This is r e a l l y peculiar for a book only published 10 years ago. This isn’t a reprint? Can you tell us how she correctly dealt with the bullys? Hopefully not burning their houses down.

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  5. Hi I am the submitter of this book.

    At the end of the book Addie has begun to gain confidence. She sees the two bullies, Leah and Georgina, sitting on a small boy and going through his pockets. She tells them she has had enough of their behaviour. She then asks the other kids who are standing around watching if they are tired of the bullying too. Despite the other children having spent the book calling Addie names and excluding her (as her accidents usually end up in bystanders also being injured), and Addie being mean to them in response, they all join in standing up against the bullies. This team work causes the bullies to leave the boy alone. Addie then reports the bullies to the principal and tells her parents. Her dad makes a complaint to the school and many other parents do too. This leads to Leah and Georgina being suspended for a week which we have to assume led to them never bullying again or at least the teachers actually noticing.

    Next Addie rescues an old lady from a fire and impresses the other kids so much that they stop calling her names and want to be her friend. Now she is taking personal responsibility she suddenly is cured from having accidents so is safe to be around again. That annoyed me too as some kids have disabilities such as dyspraxia that affect their coordination or ADHD that can affect understanding risk and this book basically infers it is okay for other kids to exclude or tease children who have lots of accidents until they improve their coordination and/or become less risk taking.

    As to ‘making a dick of herself’ it just means making a fool of herself, but is still the d word to kids so not appropriate for a kids’ book! They could have just said the mum was an embarrassment or something similar. I once taught a kid who was concerned about the pawn shop in a Goosebumps book because she thought it was a porn shop and the book might be inappropriate for her to read, so kids and/or their parents would definitely be shocked to see the word in a children’s book.

    +2

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