Hey kids! Drive a Porsche!

Need4speed_1Like many parents, I have a love/hate relationship with Scholastic. On the one hand, you can get plenty of good books cheaply, like a set of three from the Junie B. Jones series for $4.95. And I love the I Spy series of picture riddles that—I tell myself—are worthy of the hours my son spends poring over them in books and CD-ROMs.

On the other hand, the company sells tons of junk, too. I’ve spent several hundred bucks on still-unread books from the Scooby-Doo! and You Mystery Club (they show up too quickly every month for any normal, stressed-out family to read—and they’re not very good). But in the latest catalog from the Scholastic Software Club, I saw something for sale that left me truly nonplussed: the (NEW!) Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed video game, which promises that you’ll "feel the surge of adrenaline as your own driving skills and years of Porsche experience come together at your fingertips."

It’s not just the heavy product tie-in, it’s how far this is from Scholastic’s stated mission of building "the love of reading and learning for lifelong pleasure in all children."

What’s supposed to be learned here? How to evade the cops once you turn 16?

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor