This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Children. nowadays: a rant.

One of my books has just been through the editing stage.

No, no, it could have been much worse, thank you. No one said I think it might work better if the central character was a fork-lift truck; or it'd be great if you could just cut fifty thousand words; or is it all right if we make all the characters gorillas?

No, nothing like that. The trouble was caused, not by the editors, for once, but by the flipping children.

The book is aimed at young people aged about eight to eleven, and to my shock I've discovered that children of that age can't be exposed to the words subside, fervently or quest in case their poor brains melt from sheer incomprehension.

I know, I know, that's what I thought: however are they going to learn new words if...

Ah well, never mind. Children are obviously a bit more protected and spoon-fed than they used to be. Times have changed, educational theories have matured, innocent little children are to be treated with the utmost respect...

...and then I got to the bit in the book where a kid says I feel as if I've got crabs in my ears, and found another editorial note:

Please make it clear that these are the sea-side kind of crabs, and not the disease, it said.


So you mean the children know...but don't know...

Well, honestly. 

Children, nowadays.

File:Crabs - Barbados.jpg
photo of Barbados land crabs by SARBAJIT SARBAJNA

Word To Use Today: one unsuitable to use in front of children. Quest, for instance, comes from the Old French queste, from the Latin quaerere, to seek.


  1. Laughing at this! An exact example of one of the big mysteries within modern children's publishing.

    1. Thank you, Penny! Yes, it's all rather bewildering, isn't it. I changed crabs to hermit crabs, but I never did find a good replacement for fervently. Ah well!