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Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Tue Feb 3 16:50:26 EST 2004

On Tuesday, February 3, 2004, at 03:20  PM, minnow at wrote:

> Deborah commented:
>> On Tue, 3 Feb 2004, Roger Burton West wrote:
>> |I hear a great deal about the power of the sinister school 
>> librarians'
>> |organisations to make or break a book for children in the USA, at 
>> least
>> |in the commercial sense. Possibly they have demands of this sort?
>> Well, if so, they don't teach us about it until after we've got the
>> diploma and have learned the secret handshake.  My vibe from the ALA
>> thus far is that librarians are as mad as anyone else about 
>> publishers'
>> and booksellers' assumptions about the intelligence -- or lack thereof
>> -- of child readers.
> As a child I hated it when writers talked down to me by using simple 
> words
> and not making me stretch a bit.  If Beatrix Potter could use words 
> like
> "soporific", thought I, in small books for little kids, why did anyone 
> else
> feel they had to talk down?
> Why was the Philosopher's Stone too difficult?  It's not as though most
> British children would know what that really meant (gracious, how many
> British *adults* know what it really was?) -- but why were American
> children not meant to have the pleasure, later in life, of meeting the
> phrase and recognising it?

My understanding (not complete I'm sure) is that the following analysis 
was made

Philosopher = Philosophy = boring, uninteresting, academic (not MY 
feeling, of course!)

Sorcerer = intriguing, exciting, MAGIC

So I don't think it's that it was difficult, just perceived to not be a 
selling point.

If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with 
the universe.
Dr. Beverly Crusher

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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