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A Popular Children's Book Series Is Going Viral Over People’s Reactions To A Suggestive Scene In The Background

It’s not the first time this kids’ book series has featured some questionable imagery.

There’s a litany of evidence that grownup animators and illustrators have gotten their juvenile kicks by inserting adult images or jokes into children’s works, and the matter has become a very recent topic of conversation thanks to one recent high-profile instance. In addition, another children’s book that’s gone viral shows that the distasteful and baffling practice has been hiding in plain sight for decades, with certain offenses just now coming to light.

Maya the Bee, a show based on a children’s book, recently suffered a bout of controversy after an inappropriate image was spotted in the background of a scene with no explanation or context.


The animator in question is now being targeted with legal action for the “very bad joke” by the show’s Belgian producers.

As that controversy begins to fade from popular consciousness, many are even more appalled to learn that a similarly adult and questionable “Easter egg” for adults exists in the background of a kids book series featuring characters Biff, Chip, and Kipper. According to the publisher, Oxford University Press, the series is “used in 80% of UK primary schools.”

That fact alone makes what’s going on in the background of these pages so objectionable:

The publisher has responded, claiming that the images are being misread due to a lack of context taken in the surrounding pages. The illustrator, Alex Brychta, was awarded an MBE in 2012 for his contributions to children’s literature. The author of the series, Roderick Hunt, was also awarded an MBE in 2008.

While the images themselves leave interpretation to the reader, adults are chiming on what they see as a winking reference to lewd conduct in a public park.

Further casting doubt on the publisher’s response is the fact that this isn’t the first time such questionable content has been shoehorned into the Biff, Chip, and Kipper books.

The blocks can be read as spelling out “HEPATITIS,” which is supposedly someone’s idea of a joke. It seems the publisher was alerted to the content and swapped out the letters in a later run of the book.

No doubt, if this book is still in circulation, the publishing house might be taking a critical eye to over 400 Oxford Reading Tree books, knowing that roughly 80% of parents with kids in primary school will have something to say if they have to explain such illustrations to their kids.

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via David Leavitt / Twitter

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