Transcript: February 27, 2023


Should some beloved childrens’ books be changed and updated for modern times? I’ll tell you about the uproar right now. Plus – these world-famous canals… are going dry? Those stories and more, today on Notice News.

Roald Dahl Books Under Scrutiny

Hey guys and happy Monday, I’m Angie here at Notice D.C.

British author Roald Dahl wrote many stories you may know like Matilda… 

Sound: [new Matilda movie]

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…

Sound: [new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie]

The BFG, James and the Giant Peach…the list goes on. Dahl is one of the best selling children’s authors of all-time, having sold more than 250 million copies of his books worldwide, many of which have been adapted into movies. Dahl, who died in 1990, wrote most of his best-known books in the mid 20th century. 

New editions of his books are set to be released soon, and some changes have sparked a controversy. The Roald Dahl Story Company and the publisher, Puffin, have re-written some of the language in Dahl’s books to be less offensive. 

One example, the character Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is now described as “enormous” instead of “fat.”

The Roald Dahl Story Company says it worked with a company called “Inclusive Minds” to make hundreds of quote “small” changes that ensure Dahl’s stories can be enjoyed by as many children as possible.

But some authors and free speech activists are concerned about this.

Sound: “The BFG is described as wearing a black cloak, that’s now been changed to dark cloak… if you soften or make bland some of those choices of language, then you soften the badness of some of the so called bad characters which pulls the rug from under the plot… if we’re gonna allow this sort of after-the-fact censorship or rewriting of children’s books and children’s literature, what’s next?”

But some parents say these changes will make them feel better about reading Dahl’s books to their children.


Here’s what else is making news right now.

A new government report called this month’s toxic train derailment in Ohio quote “100% preventable.” The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the train company to completely clean up the wreck – or face daily fines of $70,000.

A date has been set for the first Republican presidential debate. It’s taking place this August in Milwaukee, and the Republican Party wants anyone who participates to sign a loyalty pledge promising to support whoever wins the nomination.

And – it’s official: almond milk is milk.

Despite opposition from the dairy industry, the Food and Drug Administration ruled last week that oat, soy, and other plant-based beverages can keep the word “milk” in their names. They say it’s because most consumers know that liquid that comes out of a plant is not the same as liquid that comes out of a cow.

Sound: [moo]

Venice Canals Drying Up?

Venice, Italy is beloved for its world famous canals. But right now, those canals look very different. Historic low tides have left Venice’s small group of islands without enough water for boats to make their way around. That’s a major problem for a mostly car-free city that relies on gondolas, water taxis, and even ambulance boats.

And — this is the opposite problem Venetians *usually* face. 

Venice frequently experiences severe flooding, which experts say is a direct result of man-made climate change. Today’s low tides are the result of several things, including a lack of rain, high-pressure weather, a full moon, and sea currents.

But the city worries that drought conditions, like one that Italy faced last summer, lie in the country’s future. The alps have received less than half of their normal snowfall, and combined with dry winter weather, environmental groups worry Italy’s lakes and rivers will continue to face a water deficit. 

The Po, Italy’s longest river that empties into the Adriatic sea, where Venice lies, has 61% less water than normal. Fortunately, much-needed rain and snow is predicted to be coming to the alps in the coming days.

Large canals still have enough water today for venetians to pilot their boats, but if you were hoping to take a romantic gondola ride beneath an iconic bridge, you might need to get out and walk.


That’s it for today – but let’s see how closely you were paying attention. Go take the Notice News quiz on our website 

Jonathan will be back tomorrow with more from us, Notice News.