Weird illustrations a textbook case of late discovery
Some netizens have complained about illustrations in school mathematics textbooks, published by People's Education Press (2013), dubbing them weird and ugly, with the eyes of some of the figures in the drawings set wide apart.
Although the textbooks have been used widely since 2013, this apparent new discovery topped the hot list on the Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo on May 26.
The finding has been so remarkable that even Beijing Wu Yong Design Studio, which designed and created the illustrations, and the Academy of Arts & Design of Tsinghua University, from where Wu Yong, who owns the studio, graduated, also became top-trending topics of heated discussion.
The publisher, People's Education Press, said in a statement on May 26 that, in response to the online views, and in light of experts' assessment, it is already having some cover pictures and illustrations remade, with a view to enhancing the painting style and artistic caliber. It is also evaluating all the covers and illustrations of the textbooks.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Textbook from the Ministry of Education said that it is already investigating the case.
The children in the textbook pictures appear lethargic and devoid of vigor, in a style many people find weird, to say the least.
Some parents are angry, believing that the pictures may adversely influence their children's sense of aesthetics or even have a negative impact on their physical and mental health.
An unnamed editor observed that a book cover is critical to any first impression and reflects the artistic level to some extent. In a recent interview with China National Radio, he said that although aesthetics is an subjective experience, it's still quite important in properly guiding and cultivating children, especially in the case of textbooks.
Xiong Bingqi, vice president of 21st Century Education Research Institute, suggests that publishers, before publishing textbooks, should solicit input from others, including students, parents and teachers.