Complaint said "Hop on Pop" encouraged violence against fathers
The 1963 book uses rhymed words and silly pictures to help children learn to read
In the book, Pop says, "STOP. You must not hop on Pop."
“The Catcher in the Rye.” “Fifty Shades of Grey.” “The Satanic Verses.” The protest of controversial books is nothing new, but one particularly sensitive reader in Toronto issued a challenge over something a bit less sensational.
That contentious tome: Dr. Seuss’ “Hop on Pop.”
Although it’s unclear whether the removal request was filed by an actual Grinch or intended in jest, the complaint stated that the book should be removed because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.”
The complaint further demanded that fathers be apologized to and reimbursed for any damages arising from children’s reading of the book.
According to Vickery Bowles, the director of collections management, the Toronto Public Library has a system for processing requests to remove books from its collection, though fewer than 100 have been filed since 2000. Of those, only five were actually removed “because they contained inaccurate or dated information.” Among them was a children’s book on dairy farming that had outdated farming information.
Former first lady Laura Bush outlined the potential for violence in 2006. She said her children, when very small, actually took the book to literally mean they should jump on their father. President George W. Bush was reportedly uninjured in the incident.
In addressing the complaint, the library pointed out that the book is included on many “best of” lists for children and that Dr. Seuss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
However, one particular argument was probably the death knell for this request: “The children are actually told not to hop on Pop.”
The only words uttered by the eponymous Pop in the 390-word title are an admonition to refrain from such activity: “STOP. You must not hop on Pop.”
The request was officially denied, and “Hop on Pop” remains in the library’s collection.