Where's Waldo? Not in this library Fourth-grader finds a drawing in the book 'disgusting'

March 26, 1993|By Newsday

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. -- "Where's Waldo?"

Well, he's not in the Springs Public School library.

Not anymore.

Not since Kenneth Coleman, a fourth-grader at the East Hampton school, came home with the wildly popular book "Where's Waldo?" from the school library and said: "Mom, look at this!"

What "this" was, said his stepmother, Shirley Coleman, was a tiny drawing of a woman lying on the beach wearing a bikini bottom but no top, and being nudged in the back by a boy with an ice-cream cone. "She's jumping up and her breast is hanging out," said Shirley Coleman. "The man next to her has his tongue hanging out looking at her."

Kenneth, 10, had his own opinion of the drawing. "I think it's, like, disgusting," he said. "I don't think they should have it in a book like that." He said he discovered the drawing while looking for Waldo's goggles.

After the Colemans' complaint Wednesday, the Springs school district -- a 530-student elementary school district ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade -- became the first school district in the country to take "Where's Waldo?" off its shelves. (The topless drawing caused a mild ripple in New Hampshire last fall, when a woman's complaint caused a few stores to pull a puzzle based on the book.)

The "Waldo" books, a series of humorous, complex illustrations by British author/illustrator Martin Handford, have been a phenomenon, selling some 22 million copies worldwide and 10 million in the United States during the past five years.

A bespectacled stringbean in a red striped shirt and hat, the "Waldo" character is a lovable nerd. He finds himself among complicated crowds of tiny characters in scenes ranging from beaches to airports, from history to mythology. The gimmick is that children -- as well as many adult readers -- have to find Waldo and various other items among the confusion.

Principal Peter M. Lisi said the Springs school district bought the Waldo books for their educational as well as their entertainment value.

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