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!
Submitter: Most people will easily agree that obesity is a problem our society, and teens are on the cusp of being able to make their own decisions regarding their own health. However, this book is a bit dated and is replete with scare tactics – pictures of people stuffing their faces and morality tales of teens who tried to take care of their weight through surgery and had bad results. This is an important topic, but there are more recent books that would be a better fit for the YA nonfiction.
Holly: 2006 was nine years ago, so it’s definitely on the long side of useful and headed straight for “awful library book” status. I don’t like the images of people eating (below) either. They’re caricatures of real people with real medical problems looking for real answers. Shame on the publisher! I’d take a book more seriously if it presented the material respectfully and, well, seriously.
Naturally, every library has its share of diet/health books. They go in and out of fashion more than, well, fashion. This book takes the extra added bonus of blaming Satan. Evidently Satan sits on the Hellmouth with a big plate of cookies tempting all of us into the abyss of fat and calories. One of the big ideas in this book is about fasting. Obviously not a new concept in religious practice. However, the advice about fasting is a little too cavelier about a doctor’s advice. He doesn’t even mention particular health issues where fasting might be problematic.
Well now I am thinking that maybe Hell has a better buffet than Heaven.