SA-BEST labels children’s book containing images of children gambling on poker machines “utterly outrageous”

29 January 2019

SA-BEST today labelled an internationally-renowned young children’s book that depicts images of children gambling on poker machines “utterly outrageous”.

SA-BEST MLC and gambling spokesperson, Connie Bonaros MLC, said it was “appalling” that a version of the popular Where’ Wally? book shows illustrations of children using poker machines.

Connie has written to the book’s publisher, Walker Books, requesting that the offending images be removed from all future editions of the book.

She will also write to Attorney General, Vickie Chapman, seeking the government’s support.

“I am absolutely appalled and incensed that a book like this is available for sale – what message is it sending to our children,” Connie said.

“How many parents or grandparents bought this book as a Christmas present for a loved one totally unaware of the outrageous and totally inappropriate images,” she said.

“The effect of this image on impressionable minds is unmeasurable.

“Children’s books must be a safety zone where parents and caregivers can be confident children can enjoy children’s books without negative images that can leave a lasting impression - in the same way Australians would not want to see illustrations of people drinking alcohol or using illicit substances in children’s books.

“When are we as a community going to learn about the scourge of poker machine gambling addiction and the horrific and life-altering impact it can have on lives – not just on the addict themselves but also their family and loved ones.

“Seriously, what goes through people’s minds when they’re developing children’s books like these.

“The Where’s Wally? book series is immensely popular throughout the world – tens of millions of copies have been bought for kids the world over for decades.

“Surely the emphasis on such books should be on positive role models, environments and images.

“It simply belies common sense that the author – and in this instance, also the illustrator - and/or the publisher would deem poker machines as appropriate and/or justifiable for a children’s book.

“When I was first alerted to the book, I was sickened to the stomach. SA-BEST implores the book’s publisher to immediately remove the images from all future editions.”

Shocked Adelaide mother, Shonica Guy, made the startling discovery after buying the $9 book for her son, Izaya, at a suburban book shop.

“It was actually my son who alerted me to it,” Shonica said.

“We were driving home from the book store and he says, ‘look mum, the pokies.’ I thought he was joking,” she said.

“I thought, surely not – and then when I took a closer look, there they were.

“I was stunned – absolutely horrified. Such images are completely and utterly inappropriate for a child’s book.

“I have written to the publisher complaining about its inappropriateness and have also posted a message of its Facebook page.”

The Where's Wally? is an internationally successful children's puzzle books series created by English illustrator Martin Handford in 1987 and available in more than 30 countries.

The books contain a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations – drawn by Handford - depicting dozens of people doing a variety of different things at a specific location.

The objective for readers is to find the character, Wally, hidden within the illustration.

The book series is so globally popular it has inspired a television show, a comic strip and a series of video games.

Wheres Wally Connie Shonica and son1 28jan19Wheres Wally poker machines circled 28jan19

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