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Help : Are these words too 'grown-up' for PB and EZ readers?

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Hi All,

I have been getting some comments about using a little bit complex words for story than called for this age group (6-8) maybe read aloud to even a 5 year. I was able to substitute few of them, but below couple of those are just not getting out of my head for that context.
I would love others' comment, suggestions , advise on the words and if these are completely taboo?

1. Guffawed - I had jolly as an adjective for the character first but that got ruled out. So I turned to this verb and this is also being commented on as 'too grown up'. I tried substituting with 'careless laughing' , bellowed but it was just not suiting to the dialogue and the careless tone I was trying to project. easy go lucky character.
Is this word too much to use?

2. Dithered - I have a bull which dithered and ran. Even that was commented on a 'no no'. I tried substituting with tremble (but it's not fear scene), shiver (again nothing scary or cold) , fluster was the closest ... or even plain disturbed but .. it was just not sounding right.
Would this word be too much too?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, thank you , thank you.  :EmoticonHelp2:


#1 - October 09, 2014, 07:15 PM

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I don't worry about vocabulary when writing PBs. Usually, the child is being read to, and many children will memorize the entire text so it looks like they are *reading*
EZs are a completely different stripe of cat ... you want the child to be able to read and have no more than a few words above the level.

So, both of these words are perfectly fine in a PB but a no-no for an EZ.

I really recommend typing up some published PB and EZ texts to see what they look like without visual support and then you can also compare and contrast vocabulary and sentence structure. It's very instructive and the very act of writing/typing will help you to absorb some of the structure.

Good luck,
Vijaya
#2 - October 09, 2014, 07:30 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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My book has "guffaw" in it. It's a great word. In the context of my story (and the illustration), it's pretty clear what it means.

As Vijaya says, there's a difference between what is ok in a PB and what's ok in an EZ reader. Kids love to hear "big words," especially one's that sound funny or otherwise interesting when they hear them read aloud (or when they say the words themselves).
#3 - October 09, 2014, 09:46 PM
Young Henry and the Dragon (2011, Shenanigan Books)

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Here's a good post by Angie Archer Using Difficult Words in Picture Books from March 1, 2014

The example she gives uses quite a few. http://www.peggyarcher.com/blog.htm?post=948820
#4 - October 09, 2014, 10:51 PM
THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican Pub. Co. Jan 2015)
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What Vijay said about the difference between EZ and PB.
#5 - October 10, 2014, 04:47 AM
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I think guffawed is easily explained by the right illustration and dither is such a great word I'd hate to see you leave it out. The story situation can carry the meaning or an extra phrase or sentence if you really need it.

Laurel
#6 - October 10, 2014, 09:41 AM

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I wonder who the narrator of your story is. If the narrator is meant to be a child, or a stand in for a child, you may not be able to use words a child of that age wouldn't know. However, a third person narrator can use these words. Young children know jolly because of Santa. It's also easy to sound out. A verb is stronger than an adjective though.

I always find it hard to understand comments someone has received about a manuscript without seeing the actual manuscript. Perhaps there is something to the context that is making those words jump out at your reader. As an SCBWI member, you can post in the Manuscript Critique section. Please consider doing so to provide greater context for these words.
#7 - October 12, 2014, 08:41 PM
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Two difficult words/phrases I used successfully in two of my picture books are: rendezvous and raucous ruckus. The key is to use only one or two of these difficult words per story and to make their meaning clear in the text of the story.
#8 - October 13, 2014, 06:09 AM
Verla Kay

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Thank you so much all for your direction. I am still over the edge for removing these words out of the story, and I do think I don't have any other 'complex' words in it. So I would like to try it in the whole story setting and really see if it makes it any worse. Of course , first , I do have to get the story right :)

Vijaya, Keila, Deenalapomy01, that was surprising piece of information for me. Thank you for sharing. I thought just reverse , as PBs would be read by much younger range and so simpler words only. The blog was good piece, it set my mind at ease for PBs.

Can I cheat and just say my book is only PB and not EZ Readers'?   :grin3

Jeanne, Laurel,  thanks for explaining the ease of these words. I think I would be leaving these words in for now.

Hi Debbie and Verla (it just amazes me how many places your eyes are and responding at the lightening speed everywhere  :bow ! Thanks!)
The story is narrated by author, so it's not in first person POV , nor by a child or so. And as I type, I am also revising the manuscript once more (that's how I am spending my holiday today,  :typing yes). I would be very grateful for the SCBWI critique post responses. I will be posting it shortly. Thanks for giving the example of rendezvous and raucous ruckus :) I am going to apply the advise while revising, are my words easily explained. Also , maybe the word 'dithered' is used twice I'll limit it once only. This was also suggested in a critique comment.

Guess what! While doing this research, I ended up somehow searching the word CANTAKEROUS, and it does exist in a PB , actually right in a title. I was so happy. But yes , I remember, PBs different than EZ readers. I will post the whole story shortly. Meanwhile , just sharing:

http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2014/06/review-cantankerous-king-colin.html

Again, thank you all!


#9 - October 13, 2014, 02:27 PM

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