Friday, 7 August 2009

Confusing cousins in kidlit

Having just "read" (skipped through) What Katy Did Next, just after "reading" What Katy Did and What Katy Did at School, I can reveal in a nitpicky style that "Cousin Olivia/ Mrs Page" morphs from being Katy's mamma's cousin:

"Mrs. Page was your dear mother's second cousin; and at one time she lived in your grandfather's family, and was like a sister to mamma and Uncle Charles."

to Dr Carr's cousin:

"But we must treat her politely, you know, Lilly; her father is my cousin."

Susan Coolidge, this is carelessness! And what is it with children's authors that they have such problems keeping up with cousins? Enid Blyton has the same issue - George, Anne, Dick and Julian are all called Kirrin, so we must assume that their fathers are brothers. But then Kirrin Cottage, Kirrin Island etc are said to have belonged to Aunt Fanny's family. Was she also called Kirrin before she got married? I don't think Enid was paying attention.

The other thing that annoys me about the Katy books is that Clover's hair starts out straight but by the time she is 18 it has turned wavy. I wouldn't mind, but they make such a big deal about it being straight:

Clover's thick, straight locks required to be pinched hard before they would give even the least twirl, and to her, Saturday night was one of misery... In consequence of these sufferings Clover hated curls, and when she "made up" stories for the younger children, they always commenced: "The hair of the beautiful princess was as straight as a yard-stick, and she never did it up in papers--never!"

Then in WKDN: Her thick, brown hair waved and coiled gracefully about her head.

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