Paul Kramer, author of the controversial upcoming book Maggie Goes on a Diet — a you-can-do-it! picture-book primer for pudgy prepubescents — has gone on the defensive as critics blast his message for being detrimental to kids. The tome stars a Rubenesque teen named Maggie who’s bullied by her classmates because of her weight, and who subsequently diets her way to thinness, popularity, and athletic glory. (Wait, wasn’t this a very special episode of 90210?) Oh, but it gets better.
As you can see, the book’s cover features a chunky girl standing before a mirror in a lumpy sweatshirt and boxy jeans, holding a gown across her robust frame. Another photo showcases a thinner Maggie posing gleefully in her form-fitting frock. To underscore the visuals, Kramer chronicles Maggie’s progress in rhyme. And so: “More and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name. Playing soccer gave Maggie popularity and fame.”
Kramer, author of Do Not Dread Wetting the Bed and Divorce Stinks!, insists that he’s just trying to help kids make healthy food choices, not encouraging crash dieting. The “Diet” title, he says, was used purely for marketing purposes. “Somebody at a bookstore looking at a title Maggie Gets Healthy is really not going to identify with someone who who has been overweight or has health problems, who can’t bend, play sports properly because they’re just too uncomfortable,” quotes the Daily Mail. He’s now making the media rounds defending his book, which goes on sale in October, just in time to preorder as a stocking stuffer for your favorite chubby niece.
“I was always taught as a child and all my life that you can’t judge a book by its cover,” the Daily Mail quotes Kramer as saying. Um, doesn’t that undermine the premise of his book? Possible sequels in the Maggie series: Maggie Gets Some Botox in Time for Prom and Maggie Lives Alone Surrounded by Melting Ice Cream Cartons and 10 Cats.
Author Defends Diet Book for Girls As Young As Four [Daily Mail UK]
Diet Book Aimed at Children Causes Uproar [LAT]