Although I am only talking about one book today, by way of an example, I am really ranting about a fairly wide-spread phenomenon in Children’s Publishing of late — that of a lack of careful copy-editing. Copy-editing is defined briefly as: to mark errors of spelling, grammar, punctuation and word usage to prepare the manuscript for final printing so each finished book is as error-free as possible. I am unsure whether there are still full-time copy-editing staff in most children’s publishing houses these days (maybe someone can speak to this in a comment?) but from the number of errors one encounters in children’s books these days, it seems that human copy-editing has become an obsolete art. If you have read a lot of recent children’s books as I have done, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I just finished reading a very well-written and exciting story by Polly M. Robertus, entitled The Richest Doll in the World. It’s a Holiday House 2008 publication. Judging from the font size and the length (129 pages,) I have no problem thinking of this book as for fairly beginning readers. Say, 2nd to 4th graders. It is even more inexcusable that the copy-editing is so sloppy! Here are a few page scans to illuminate my concerns. Before you read on and see for yourself whether this is a serious issue, I just want to say how sorry I feel for the author of this book. I can only imagine how much time, effort, hope, and heart went into writing, revising, and perfecting the telling of this entertaining and heartwarming story and yet, as a librarian, I cannot feel comfortable recommending this book to my young readers due to its poor copy-editing. I wonder if I am alone in feeling this way?
I can just imagine how a 2nd grader reading this book asks her mom, “Mommy, what is LUST? I don’t understand this sentence. What does ‘lust haven’t tried’ mean?” Try explaining that one!
Last time I checked (2 seconds ago,) the word “sidesh” has not made its way into the Merriam Webster Dictionary yet. (One would imagine that even a computer spell checking program would have picked up completely non-existing words and corrected the error. Did the production team not even bother with a once-over using a free program?)
These two are both from p. 34 — and I was simply baffled by the abundance of commas…