A digital book based on the story of the Three Little Pigs has been rejected by judges presiding over the annual BETT awards of the government's educational technology tentacle, Becta, because the literary deployment of porkers "raises cultural issues".
The CD-Rom - produced by Newcastle-based Shoo-fly - is aimed at primary school kids, but the judges said they had "concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues", according to the BBC.
The book recently secured the "Best Primary Resource and Innovation in Education" prize at the Education Resource Awards, but Becta explained to the publishers that they "could not recommend this product to the Muslim community".
The panel also suggested the book might be offensive to builders, what with it being entitled The Three Little Cowboy Builders. Becta asked: "Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?"
Quite what the UK's brickies, chippies and thatchers will make of the whole thing we know not, but the book's creative director, Anne Curtis, described the idea that having pigs in stories is racist as "a slap in the face", adding: "The feedback to The Three Little Cowboy Builders amounted to a verbal assault."
Becta declared it would stick to its guns. A spokesman said: "Becta, with its partners, is responsible for the judging criteria against which the 70 independent judges, mostly practising teachers, comment. All the partners stick by the judging criteria." ®
Yes we know, copies of Animal Farm culled, Babe DVDs sent to the slaughterhouse, etc, etc...