Before you take your little ones to the library today, or for a browse round the bookshop, pay heed: our kids are being fed a sexist, literary diet, where 'heroes' such as Tigger, Toad of Toad Hall, Peter Rabbit, Fantastic Mr Fox and Winnie the Pooh are making them believe they are growing up in a man's world.
In a study of children's literature carried out by researchers at Florida State University, 6,000 best-selling children's books published during the past century were analysed, with the conclusion being that male lead characters hugely outnumber female ones. Obviously they didn't pay much attention to Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew or any of the other feisty female literary leads who immediately spring to mind, but anyway...
The researcher leading the study, Janice McCabe, said the trend was 'inherently sexist':
'Books contribute to how children understand what is expected of women and men, and shape the way children will think about their own place in the world. The persistent pattern of disparity among animal characters may reveal a subtle kind of symbolic annihilation of women disguised through animal imagery.'
Annihilation of women through animal imagery! Madness, right?
What do you think? Do you find some books 'inherently sexist' or are these claims just laughable?