Chapter One - Unsuited to Age Group: The Anxietiesof Children’s Literature 17
17 Chapter One Unsuited To Age Group: The Scandals of Children’s Literature In what has come to be known as the 2007 ‘Mini-Penis Scandal’, US publishers Boyd Mills Press refused to release the German picture storybook Winter-Wimmelbuch on the grounds that it contained in- appropriate illustrations of naked male and female bodies. Before its distribution, the publishers requested that the book, by Rotraut Su- sanne Berner, remove images deemed unacceptable for an American audience, namely, art gallery scenes of a cartoon nude and a seven- millimetre-tall statue of a naked man on a pedestal. The statue’s ‘mini- willy’, Franziska Bossy and Elke Schmitter contend, ‘is hardly even a half-millimetre long’, while the ‘naked woman hanging on the wall […] [is] hardly a realistic depiction of the female anatomy’ (2007). When Berner argued that ‘she could maybe have lived with putting black bars in front of the problem spots, but “invisible censorship” was out’, the publishers declined to print an American version of the book (qu. Bossy & Schmitter, 2007). ‘American kiddies’, Bossy and Schmitter observe, are now ‘safe from shocking German sensibilities’, protected from a potentially harmful exposure to the ‘cartoon boobies and mini-penis’ (2007). As the German newspaper Die Welt declared: ‘Kein deutscher Mini-Penis für die USA’ (qu. Zammarelli, 2007a).2 The scandal of the ‘teenie weenie’ (Deutsche Welle qu. Zam- marelli, 2007a), while focussed on an image, is situated in a long and complex history of controversy about children’s literature. In- deed, since the development of a notion of...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.