The Tooth by Des Hunt

One of my greatest bugbears (Is that how you spell that?) with books for teenagers published in New Zealand is the way they are edited.  Some of my criticism is probably because of my own personal tastes, but, this book and a couple of others I have read this year need some editing help.  The story is actually quite good and for year 8 and 9 boys it is probably a good adventurous read.  I read it because I had the guilt’s that we have a couple of these books, they have been quite well received by other people in other schools so I thought I’d better have a go at one.

Irritation struck almost immediately, why do we have to have songs and poems in the books.  An instant turn off for a boy, all that italics, a couple of pages of it.  Sure, put them in but keep em short please.  Irritation no 2, improbabilities, a museum curator who is a geologist and an art curator, sorry, turn one person into two please.  Irriatation no 3. please Des, have a talk to David Hill and find out what it is that makes his voice right for teenage boys.  I could instantly tell your age by the way you wrote the book, you used terms and language that my Dad would use.  While that is great when you are talking to your friends it isn’t right when you are writing a book for teenage or tween boys.

Having complained bitterly now, I will say that the story itself is quite good, and it sits nicely with a whole bunch of other books for this age of kid.  But it should have had an on task editor.  And if you are the editor and you are reading this, please, do some consults with some kids before you set the story free.  Voice is so important.


One comment

  1. Hi Bridget,

    I have just read “Whale Pot Bay” and totally agree about Irritation no.3. Parts of the story read really well and then all of a sudden you became aware that the voice narrating was not a teenage boy but a man with heaps of experience. The language was “archaic” to say the least and I could see teenagers needing a dictionary to translate.

    Although it is good to expose them to new language I think too much is a turn off.

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