Children's science book instructs students to suffocate a kitten

Our Green World: Environment Studies is a children's textbook used in India. Some schools have removed one of the pages from the book because it has an experiment requiring students to kill a "small kitten."

From BBC:

The passage in Our Green World: Environment Studies is meant to demonstrate that air is essential for life. It reads: "Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without holes has died."

The book's publisher has promised it will not appear in the next edition, according to the Indian Express.

Parvesh Gupta of PP Publications said: "A parent had called us a couple of months ago and asked us to remove the text from the book because it was harmful for children. We recalled books from our distribution channel and will come out with a revised book next year."

Notable Replies

  1. I suspect this writer resents being assigned biology instead of physics.

  2. The first draft said "kid brother".

  3. I suspect the DeVos version would involve the kitten still being alive through divine intervention, but only if it had lived a good Christian life :rolling_eyes:

  4. But if you don't open the boxes, both kittens are both dead and alive.

  5. I once worked converting text books into more accessible formats. It worked with textbooks from publishers major and minor. We found all sorts of hilarious text inclusions and mistakes. The most egregious,I wish I had a picture of it, was in the answer section of a textbook where there were interspersed rants about a former love. If my memory serves correctly, it was a math book and included text about herpes and the lovers various failings.

    The number of hands that touch a book is amazing. Books often have regional editions (state, province, county, etc…). A book can have market specific editions based off needs. For instance books can be divided or combined for semester or quarter system classes. This is one place where a lot of people, often unacredited, have the ability to change, remove or add material.

    While the author may be at fault, there are many hands that have access to the text before it is printed. There is also a chance that the textbook is a bootleg copy. On more than one occasion, when contacting a publisher about a miss print (likely missing or duplicated pages) we also sent them a punch list of mistakes and odd bits of text that we found. We were quickly called back and apologized to. They mailed us overnight 2 copies of the book, including a teacher's edition. They paid for an overnight return of the book. Later I was asked a bunch of questions by the publisher. It turned out that it was text from an early gaily for a preview edition. Printed textbook piracy is a real thing and there are companies that apparently attempt to sell books to unaware schools. Book sellers offer a great price, the schools get the books, often with old, error filled or odd text and poor graphics.

Continue the discussion

42 more replies