I have to direct everyone who is using words to mean different things to look up a wonderful kid's book entitled "Frindle" by Andrew Clements. (One of my all time favorite authors) In the book, a fourth grader wonders aloud in his English class why he has to call a pen a pen and not a "frindle". His teacher tells him "because frindle isn't a word." The boy sets out to make it so. The book is brief and comes to a satisfying conclusion. I LOVED that book. I love ALL CLements' books. EVERYONE needs to read him
And Slartibartfast, you remind me of a tale from my first months on the reference desk, some 19 years ago:
Father and daughter walk up to the desk. Father nudges daughter and says "Tell the librarian what you want." The girls looks at me and says "Need a book about Moes." "I'm sorry," say I, trying my best librarian interview skills "Could you repeat that? The acoustics in here are--" "MOES!" Screams the child. (She is probably a fifth grader,too. Maybe fourth.) "MOES! I need a book about MOES!"
I look at her father. He shakes his head. "We were hoping you'd know. All I can tell you is it's a homework assignment."
I look back at the girl. She is not, by the way, challenged in anyway, save that she keeps ask me for "Moes". I wanted to ask if she wanted a book that had Larry and Curly in it, too.
"Can you tell me what it does," I try
She says "MOES! Like what be inna back yard!"
"MOLES?" says her father "You mean like the animal that digs in the ground?"
"NO!" Now she's mad at both of us. "MOES! Like what grow slimey on food!"
"MOLD?" I said. "You want information on MOLD?"
I looked at her father who shook his head. "I don't know where this crap comes from," he said. "Her mother and I don't talk like that and she didn't used to, until she got to school."
Girl stomps off while I retrieve her books. Dad and I rolled our eyes at each other sympathetically before we parted ways.