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Coles’ latest collectable range has caused quite a stir, with some shoppers claiming the books promote violence and include graphic images.
The Coles Little Treehouse books were launched last week and designed to be “enjoyed by the whole family”.
Customers receive one miniature book, which are a collaboration by Australian author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton, for every $30 they spend in one transaction.
‘What a disgrace’
A handful of Coles customers have taken to the supermarket’s Facebook page to vent their frustration over the stories, which includes one character threatening to kill another.
In another, a different character is beheaded by a chainsaw.
“What is with your new mini books? What a disgrace,” one person wrote alongside a photo of one character strangling another.
“I tried to get him to look on the bright side by pointing out that even though I blew up, I didn’t die - but he just put his hands around my throat and said, ‘Well you’re sure going to die now!’” a page in the book pictured reads.
“This is a page from the latest collectible promo. This is definitely not a proper content for kids. Totally inappropriate graphical content for a promo designed for kids,” another man wrote on Facebook, saying it was probably better suited for adults rather than kids aged three and up as recommended.
“Three is definitely too young to see severed head in their book, even in the context of imagination,” he said.
Other customers seemed upset with the negative storylines in some of the books.
One woman posted a video of herself flipping through the pages of one book where a character labels another as a “dumdum” and labeled vegetables as “hateful”.
“Really Coles!!! These books are shocking the alphabet book is just disgusting, and any parent out there would be horrified with what is inside these books,” she wrote.
‘Designed to inspire children’
Coles responded to the backlash online and said the Little Treehouse books were designed to “inspire children”.
“We are sorry to hear that you're offended by our stories. That was not our intent. We wanted our stories to inspire children to break the rules in their imaginations so they wouldn’t in the real world.
“In our books, there are no limits, there are no rules and you can dare yourself to think of the silliest, most dangerous thing and there are no real-world consequences,” a Coles spokesperson wrote on Facebook.
Coles apologised “for the disappointment” and said it would pass the feedback on to the relevant teams.
A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the collectable range was based on “the most successful Australian kids’ book series of the past decade, by best-selling author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton, and can be found in school and public libraries across Australia”.
“The series is aimed at encouraging a lifelong love of books, improving literacy skills and better educational outcomes. This imaginative approach has proven to be a gateway to reading for many millions of children around the world.
“As with any media, it is parents’ choice as to what their children read, and what constitutes an age-appropriate story for their kids,” a Coles spokesperson said.
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