Dear Children’s Books,
As most of us on the internet know, writing in all caps is considered yelling. It’s okay to do it very, very occasionally online to punctuate what you’re saying. It’s less okay to use in children’s books. Capital letters have specific rules attached to them. I’m not a complete stickler for grammar or anything. I think most people who complain that contemporary children’s books have abysmal writing and grammar are going a bit overboard. However, when you break the rules, you ought to have a good reason or at least a reason.
I feel like I’ve been seeing this a lot lately. The first particularly egregious capitalization culprit that comes to mind is Junie B. Jones. We get it. She’s loud. Why can’t that be expressed through the quality of the descriptive writing instead of by having at least one sentence in all caps on every other page? I think that’s really my problem with Junie. I don’t mind that a young child doesn’t use correct grammar, I mind that Barbara Park doesn’t when she writes about her.
Of course, I rarely mind bashing Junie, but the book that really inspired me in this post was How to Train Your Dragon, which we started as a read aloud recently then put down before getting very far. Neither the husband nor I found much merit in it. It wasn’t as good as the movie. I get that capitalizing a word when you’re writing about a fantasy world lets us know it’s not just a ritual, it’s the Ritual, that you’re talking about. It’s not just some flowers, it’s the Flowers. However, if you use that over and over again, for dozens of words, it goes from meaningful to grammatical butcher shop. And did I mention that you don’t need to YELL?
Sincerely, A Book Lover