CULVER CITY, Calif. - First-grade readers of Little Red Riding Hood have more to fear than the Big Bad Wolf, say school officials. It's the wine she has in her basket.
An award-winning adaptation of the classic Grimm's fairy tale has been pulled from the recommended reading list because the heroine has wine in the basket she brings her grandmother.
``It gives the younger ones the wrong impression about alcohol. If they should refrain, why give them a story saying it's OK?'' said Vera Jashni, assistant superintendent for instruction.
Jashni, who ordered the ban, said it was the final paragraph of the story that sealed her decision - the part after the woodsman kills the Big Bad Wolf.
``The grandmother drank some of the wine, and . . . after a while, the grandmother felt quite strong and healthy, and began to clean up the mess that the wolf had left in the cottage.''
The version of the story, written by Trina Schart Hyman, won a Caldicott Honor Award for children's literature.
Houghton-Mifflin Co., a Boston-based textbook publisher, distributed the book.
Gina Grawe, a teacher at Linwood Howe Elementary School, organized a day-long protest last week over the ban.
``Is this the beginning of book-banning? One person should not have that much control to make that decision,'' Grawe said. ``I'm sure someone could find something objectionable in any book - there's drinking in Tom Sawyer.''