Facts: The Devil Is in the Details

“Hello. I am a squirrel monkey.”

My husband tells me that I’m a pill.  My standards are just too high.  But I hate it when an author or illustrator gets a fact wrong.

If I don’t know you, I will put your book aside.  That’s it.  I don’t need any more of that nightmarish experience.

If I know your work and love it, I may stick around.  But there will be whining.

Last week, I excitedly picked up my stack of books at the library.  As soon as we got home, I flipped open a picture book.  WHAT!  You can’t call it a monkey and a chimpanzee.  No, no, no!  Chimpanzees are apes along with gorillas, orangutan and gibbons.  Monkeys include spider MONKEYS, baboons, tamarins and many, many more.  They may be close on the tree of life but they are not interchangeable.

The offending book is still sitting on my library shelf unread.  I may as well slip it back into the library bag.

Just this morning, I was finishing off my coffee while reading a chapter in my latest mystery.  The series logo includes two paw prints, a dog and a cat.  The dog print is beneath the profile of a dog.  It includes no claw marks.  The cat print is beneath the profile of a cat.  It contains claw marks.

I love this series, so I will keep reading but the illustrator got it backwards.  Dog prints include claw markets.  Cat claws, except for cheetah, are retractable. Only rarely, such as when they are running or pouncing, do cat paw prints include claw marks.  Yes, I will read on but I will whine.

Young readers are the same way.  They may not pick up on the same things that I do but they want what they read to be accurate.  That means that if you are going to use the current lingo, you better get it right.  Science terms?  Don’t guess.  Look it up because a science mad kid will know when you err.

If you want to expand your pool of readers, get it right.  It doesn’t matter if it is science, technology or the latest slang, the right word matters.

–SueBE

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