Children's author in hot water over smoking scarecrow

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Children's author Julia Donaldson has angered parents by depicting a scarecrow smoking in her latest book.

In the book, called 'The Scarecrows' Wedding', one of the characters uses a cigar to make smoke rings to impress another scarecrow. However, the female scarecrow is not fond of his attempts to woo her and replies that smoking is bad, adding that he should be ashamed, reports theguardian.com.

For this reason, Ms Donaldson argues that it's made clear that Reginald Rake, the smoking scarecrow, is a villain and that smoking is not a good thing to do – especially as the cigar ends up setting him on fire.

One parent claimed in an Amazon review that the smoking scene in the book had resulted in his three-year-old to ask for a cigar. Others go so far to say the book shouldn't be sold anymore, reports telegraph.co.uk.

A spokesperson for the book's publisher, Scholastic Children's Publishers, said a long discussion took place to decide whether the smoking scene was included or not.

“Our feeling, after much discussion, was that children will inevitably encounter smoking at some stage, as people continue to smoke outside in public places, and we hope that, by showing smoking in such a negative way, this book might give parents the opportunity to discuss the issue with their children, and reinforce the anti-smoking message,” she said.

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