A courageous sister sent this letter to the Scottish government over the Brenda is a Sheep book, being given to all Primary 1 children.
Dear Ms Todd
I would like to express some concern regarding a book that was given to my 5 year old son at school last week via the Bookbug scheme which I believe is run as a partnership between the Scottish government and the Scottish book trust.
The book is called “Brenda is a sheep” and written by Morag Hood. The tale is about Brenda, who is literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and depicted as such. She plays with the unsuspecting sheep, whilst plotting to eat them. However, at the point she is about to do so, the sheep have made a party for her, so she instantly changes her mind, they’re all friends and the book reiterates the message that “Brenda is a sheep”. She is still depicted as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Here are the concerns I have:
1. If this book is intended as a strange form of satire, I find it beyond what a 5 year old could understand.
2. Lies are repeated. Brenda is clearly a wolf and not a sheep. I find it inappropriate to encourage a 5 year old to lie about what they can see.
3. Safeguarding. The message the book seems to send is that if we ignore danger and are nice and cuddly toward predators, everything will be okay. I find this a very inappropriate message to give a 5 year old.
4. It seems it also gives thinly veiled support to transgenderism, and I would ask the Scottish government to note the recent decision regarding the Tavistock Clinic, which accepts referrals from all over the UK, including Scotland:
I would ask that ministers for education will reconsider the message this book sends, and remove it from the bookbug scheme.
This is the response she received:
16 December 2020
Thank you for your email of 6 December to Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People in
relation to the Bookbug programme. I have been asked to respond as the appropriate policy officer.
Bookbug is Scotland’s universal early years book gifting programme, funded by the Scottish
Government and managed by the Scottish Book Trust. It aims to inspire a love of stories, songs and
rhymes from birth and promote the importance of books and the benefits of early book sharing. As
well as laying the foundations of early literacy, the initiative aims to enhance attachment and promote
emotional intelligence as well as good communication and listening skills.
All Bookbug packs include age-appropriate books and other learning tools to develop reading and
writing skills in children from birth to age five, along with guidance materials for parents and carers.
The books are selected by a panel of experts working with Scottish Book Trust and are designed to
have a positive impact on parent-child interaction by helping support attachment, early learning and
The Scottish Government takes concerns like this seriously and we can confirm that every book
chosen for the Bookbug P1 Family Bag has been through a robust selection process. An independent
panel of experts from education, libraries, and Scottish Book Trust, as well as families, are invited to
share their feedback on every book submitted for the bags. They are encouraged to test the books in
the classroom, the library and at home and present feedback on each book’s suitability for Scotland’s
4 and 5 year-olds. We accept that not every book will be loved by every child or family. But the Scottish
Book Trust do their best to ensure there is enough variety across the three shortlisted titles for every
child to find a story that they can engage with and enjoy.
We have discussed this with the Scottish Book Trust (SBT) who have advised that the initial response
from P1 teachers who have attended the webinars has been positive about all three titles and no
issues were flagged during the selection process either.The panel and children who selected the book enjoyed the surprising friendship between the sheep and Brenda, who realises that she has more in common with her new friends than she first thought.
There is further information available on The Scottish Book Trust’s website about the book selection
process for the P1 books, and gives a little more information about what the panel liked about Brenda
I hope that you find this reply helpful.
IHW : Family Unit
The reply is revealing because it shows how the Scottish government treats correspondence. Note that none of the points made by the correspondent were answered or engaged with (so much for being taken seriously!). Note that the official just simply says that you have to trust us because we are the experts. Its a classic example of not answering the question, woke gobbledygook and patronising bureaucratic smugness….The trouble with this response is that the ‘independent’ experts are neither independent nor experts. They are part of the same incestous ‘civic Scotland’ that spends its time in its own echo chamber, asking each other what they already know. Their inability to give a straight answer or to see the obvious problems is chilling in its Orwellian likeness.
Of course their ‘expert’ panel is going to tell them what they want to hear. To do otherwise would be to commit career suicide! I can think of a number of teachers who have contacted me to tell me about the craziness (amounting to abuse) going on in their schools – but they dare not say anything – because to be labelled transphobic in this toxic environment is enough to mark you for life.
One of the most disturbing moments I have had was when I had a meeting with the Scottish government minister responsible for this issue. At one point I said that they were way out of line with public opinion and if she doubted that then we should have a debate (about promoting transgenderism to children) in front of any group of parents. She accepted that I would win that debate but the reason for that – (and these are her exact words) – ‘parents are ignorant’. In that one phrase you have summed up the attitude of our elites. They are the educated gatekeepers – we are the dumb sheep. I would suggest that we are the intelligent sheep – at least intelligent enough to recognise a wolf in sheeps clothing when we see one!
I accept that the woman who wrote this letter, just like the author of the book, will be nice people who mean well but who may not actually know what they are doing. However ignorance is really no excuse. And when it is called out – it should be dealt with.
I commend highly the parent who took the time to engage with this. I hope that more parents (and teachers, politicians and clergy) will stand up to this harmful indoctrination…..