No. No it is not. Not sure if you have heard about this new book coming out in October by author Paul M. Kramer. It’s called, Maggie Goes On A Diet . Well here, I’ll let you read the product description yourself.

“This book is about a 14-year-old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image.”

Sounds fine, doesn’t it? Then what’s the problem? Well, it’s about a 14-year-old girl but the book is written in verse and targets readers from four to eight-years-old! Not good.

This is a very slippery slope. On the one hand, we know rates of childhood obesity are off the charts and something has to be done. But is this it? I would feel better if the book was “Maggie learns to eat better” or “Maggie finds an exercise she likes.” To tie popularity to dieting and being “normal-sized” (I’m not even sure what that is) feels so wrong to me. It’s even more obscene to imply to girls as young as four, that external appearance is what makes you a well-liked, school sports star.

I’m not naïve here; I’m sure people do start feeling better about themselves when they get in shape. But the key phrase is “about themselves”, in other words they are internally motivated, either by health or other reasons. It’s not done so they can become prom queen or have a date on Friday night. You know what this sounds like to me? Eating disorders in the making. And sexist too, don’t even get me started on why Matt isn’t going on a diet. I guess he can still be chubby and popular.

Okay, let’s debate this. Maybe I’m wrong. Is it possible Maggie goes on a Diet, is a good book for young girls to read? Do you think it sends the right message? Will this help with the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country or open up a whole new can of worms? Fire away!