Children’s Book is, Frankly, No Good

Reading a book at Chapters in Canada

As a parent, it’s important to me that my kids love to read. As a person with an English degree and a job in editing, it’s important to me that these books be grammatically correct.

My daughter, on the other hand, wants to read every children’s book on fashion and/or cats. It’s a bonus if it’s about both. So when my husband took her to the library, she found Frankly, Frannie: Fashion Frenzy and wanted to bring it home.

Okay, sure. So we did. And, that night, began reading.

It’s a chapter book for children ages 6 and up, so my husband read it to her. And was quickly surprised by the language involved. Apparently Frannie likes to make up words. Like distractified. And suspensiful. And tragical. And workerish. He had to stop reading before blood started coming out of our ears.

Now, I get that kids like to make up words. It’s one of the many ways they express their creativity. But in a book that younger kids are going to want to read, is this really a good thing? I know that when my five-year-old listens to this book, she doesn’t know that these are silly words that silly Frannie made up. She might think it’s a real thing to be distractified. Or to have a secret, inside-face smile (whatever the hell that is).

Don’t we owe it to our children to provide them with books that are written grammatically correct so they’re not learning the wrong thing? Or am I just a curmudgeon whose ear sockets just can’t appreciate such horrendimous writing?

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