Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bunny Suicides Beats Ban and Burning

Stepping up beside the likes of Voltaire’s Candide and Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Andy Riley’s 2003 The Book of Bunny Suicides (Plume) has narrowly avoided being banned at a Portland, Oregon school. From Oregon’s Fox12:
"The Book of Bunny Suicides," by British humorist Andy Riley, follows 100 rabbits as they search for new ways to commit suicide. It has been the focus point of a long-running debate among the school board members since October, when parent Taffey Anderson threatened to burn the book after her 13-year-old son brought it home from school.
Back in 2003 The Book of Bunny Suicides was one of those books that made it into the January Magazine stacks, but didn’t make the cut for review. And why? Well, certainly not because we didn’t want you to know about it. Honestly: the book just seemed too stupid to bother with. The kind of book -- hmmmm -- a 13-year-old boy might think was deeply funny.

Riley’s drawings are charming enough, but the humor just seemed a bit too 1998: irony for the sake of irony and a little too heavy handed to be seriously considered funny. (Considered seriously funny?) I mean: bunnies in toasters? Meh.

And here’s a banned book tidbit I came across while researching this piece: one of my favorite books from childhood -- Black Beauty, Anna Sewell’s wonderful 1877 novel about a horse -- was banned in South Africa in the mid-1950s. Why? Because it had the word “black” in the title.



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