Concerns raised over new children's book

<p>Publication of <em>Tender Morsels</em> in this country is leading to renewed calls for a clearer system to let parents know about the nature of the books that their children are reading, reports the <em>Observer</em>. But children&#39;s writers such as Philip Pullman and Michael Rosen remain adamant that age-ranging is not the answer.</p><p>Designers at Random House have given Margo Lanagan&#39;s novel one cover illustration for younger readers, while another has been chosen for the adult edition being published by Jonathan Cape. The novel, published this month by Random House, is a lurid reworking of Grimm&#39;s Snow White and Rose Red fairytale and also contains a gang rape and a frank description of a miscarriage. &quot;Within the book industry, the new title from the Australian author is already being described as uncompromising and controversial.&quot;</p><p>Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, believes the front of a book should offer a good clue to the buyer. &quot;Book covers can tell you a lot,&quot; he said. For Pullman, calls for censorship or for an age-related classification system are not the answer. &quot;This idea comes from a misguided fear and a murky sense of nostalgia about the way books used to be.&quot; Michael Rosen, the former children&#39;s laureate, suspects that age guidelines would be pointless. &quot;If you have a book in a house that says it is for a nine-year-old, is that going to stop an eight-year-old picking it up?&quot; he asked.<br /><br />David Fickling, the publisher of Tender Morsels, says he knows the content will be unpalatable to some readers and so there is a warning on the inside of the jacket.</p>