School officials have promised outraged parents they will re-evaluate a series of elementary school books that promote such themes as witchcraft, fear, despair and gloom.
A series of 13 books called "Impressions" and published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Ltd., contain some stories and poems school officials admit they find objectionable but maintain the overall anthology is of high quality.Impression books also are used in Utah, California, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Idaho and in Canada.
The books contain some stories the 300 parents gathered at a Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School Board meeting this week found objectionable and excerpts from other highly regarded classics like "The Black Stallion" and "The Wizard of Oz."
Among the poems considered questionable was a parody of the Christmas favorite "The 12 Days of Christmas" that includes lines alike "12 days of raining, 11 lizards boiling, 10 ground hogs grinning, nine nightmares galloping, eight snow wolves wailing, seven ghouls acaroling, six shadows lurking, five useless things."
Kevin Van Elswyk, parent of a second grade student, critiqued the poem.
"There is no beauty; there is ugliness," Van Elswyk told the Chicago Tribune. "There is no celebration; there is despair. There is no family; there is isolation. There is no joyful anticipation; there is fear."
Gayle Galloway, speaking for a committee of teachers that recommended "Impressions," said it contained "many, many wonderful stories."
Galloway said teachers using the books would not select such stories for use in the classroom and added the books were not meant to be used in their entirety.
The books have been in the Wheaton and Warrenville schools since August 1988 and, until now, no objections had been raised.