When Maggie looks into the mirror she sees a thin girl holding up a small pink dress. But in reality, Maggie is a chubby young girl who is trouble by her weight.
That's a description of what is seen on the cover of an upcoming children's book titled Maggie Goes On A Diet, written by Paul Michael Kramer. The book is set to come out on Oct. 16, but has been getting much criticism from parents, pediatricians and nutritionists.
Online bookstore Amazon describes the book as being about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.
The bookstore suggests that the book is for children 6 years and over.
Barnes and Noble recommends the book for children ages 6 to 12.
But experts in nutrition said the storybook plotline doesn't reflect what happens in real children's lives.
Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at University of California-Berkeley, spoke to ABC News on Thursday without seeing the book.
She said highlighting imperfections in a boy's or girl's body does not empower a child to adopt good eating habits.
As a matter of fact, in reality, dieting down to a smaller clothing size doesn't guarantee living happily ever after.
Body dissatisfaction is a major risk for eating disorders in children all the way up through adulthood, Ikeda said.
And, role models like Maggie can perpetuate the idea that if you don't look like Cinderella, you're a failure, Ikeda said. I wouldn't want a child to read this ... because they might, in fact, try to do this and fail. What is that going to do to their self-esteem?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States, which is triple the rate from just one generation ago, and that one of seven low-income, preschool-aged children is obese.
The federal government has developed methods to help teach children the importance of a healthy diet at an early age. First lady Michelle Obama alsolaunched the Let's Move! initiative, which is dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity. The initiative also gives parents helpful information and foster environments that support healthy choices. It slso focuses on providing healthier foods in schools and ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food.
This is the first time that Kramer wrote books that tackle issues kids face. He has written books for children that deal with issues such as personal hygiene, bullying and wetting the bed. The books are written in rhyme, according to Kramer's Web site, and some will be released this year.
He published the books Bullies Beware! and Booger Bob last year. Bullies Beware! is about a bullied boy named Mikey and Booger Bob aims to teach children about personal hygiene.
Ikeda told ABC News that Kramer seems well-intentioned but very misguided.
What do you think about Kramer's new book.