A cautionary tale: should we really be protecting children from problematic books?

Dr Seuss’s books were read and loved by millions of children for decades. Now his publisher is withdrawing half a dozen of his titles, due to racist tropes contained in their pages. With social attitudes changing and shifting quickly, legendary figures such as Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton look likely to meet a similar fate

Dr Seuss’s If I Ran The Zoo is being withdrawn from sale due to concerns over racist tropes contained in the book. Picture: AP

I did not expect to enjoy Dr Seuss when I first read his books. I was 36, which was probably a little older than most of his first-time readers, and their fame long preceded them.

Dr Seuss (the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel) and his characters already had an outsize presence in popular culture. To me, at least, the books seemed silly, loud, repetitive, and one-dimensional. The Cat In the Hat looked kitschy and ...