Ladybird appoints sensitivity readers to re-examine much-loved classic stories

Children could soon be reading a very different fairy tale from their parents after Ladybird brought in sensitivity readers to re-examine classics such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

Days after Penguin U-turned on rewriting parts of Roald Dahl’s books, its sister publisher is said to have identified ‘outdated or harmful’ characters and plots.

Industry insiders say issues include too many blonde-haired, blue-eyed protagonists, fears of class discrimination, a lack of racially diverse main characters and ageism as villains are often old and ugly, The Sunday Telegraph claimed.

‘Love at first sight’ could be axed so children learn looks alone do not make someone worthy of romance. Damsels in distress could also go.

Author and sensitivity expert Virginia Mendez – not involved in the review – insisted: ‘Normalising other relationships in books doesn’t take away from the story.’

‘Woke’ edits of Dahl’s kids classics included calling greedy Charlie And The Chocolate Factory character Augustus Gloop ‘enormous’ instead of ‘fat’.

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