What is the purpose of children’s books? It’s there to amuse, to educate, and to show life with the freedom to fantasize. Reginald Rake, a scarecrow, lights a cigar and is instantly chastised. Vape industry experts have put the number even higher, as high as several million dollars. He then attempts to set fire to the female scarecrow he’s wooing in Julia Donaldson’s new picture book, The Scarecrows’ Wedding. Smoking or even vaping is an obvious cause and effect: it hurts you and others around you. What can be more self-evident and less contentious?

Nonetheless. This tiny narrative has gotten a lot of backlash from web critics this week, who believe that merely depicting the concept of cigarettes or vaping in a children’s story is inappropriate.

Stories are an effective method of warning children

This is a basic misunderstanding of storybooks. First, they are imaginations. Nobody seems to mind that the scarecrows can speak, or that they are given jewelry of shells by a helpful crab while they are nowhere close to the water. A dream may be used to make a meaningful message, as Donaldson does, and because kids react much more quickly to created realms than they do to the befuddling actual world, it is often the most effective way to communicate. Consider Aesop’s Fables, which feature morals embedded in animal characters.

It also shows you what is accepted in society

For so long, using cigarettes has been considered impolite in public that it’s practically expected of a scoundrel to ignite. Whenever the kids desire for their baby brother to grew older, he does, transforming into a filthy, smoking, sex-obsessed young adult in E Nesbit’s Five Children And It, initially published in 1900. The point is obvious.

This wasn’t always the situation, though. The donnish wizards and their hobbit companions in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels adore cigarettes. In Alice in Wonderland, the caterpillar is baked off his head on some type of oriental stuff. To youngsters, however, these activities appear to be from another planet: they do not connect with the smoking caterpillar, much less aspire to emulate him.

Even if someone thought these stories were awful, we can’t go back through time and eliminate all references to something that was once commonplace.

Many people are smoking because others in the physical world who are deemed trendy do. Those that do it do it begin to experience being involved in an adult environment — despite frequent cautions from families, instructors, cigarette packs, and authorities. They don’t do this because in a story they read when they were two, a mischievous scarecrow sets fire to another using the ashes of his cigarette.


Children’s stories distill the reality that appears in all of its diverse splendour and terror surrounding us into a style that kids may enjoy, be scared by, and hopefully learn from. Applying traditionalist injunctions to stifle the development of a burgeoning field of literature is harsh, to say the least. Children’s stories broaden and describe the world, including everything in it, including smoking.

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