You may recall that we scrubbed the bad language out of Stonewall Hinkleman. Nothing filthy, just soldiers saying “hell” and “damn” and stuff like that. We replaced these with stuff that was a little more classroom friendly, since our dearest wish is for fifth-graders to read the book as part of a history unit.
But once you start cleansing where do you stop. We stopped before removing the word “butt.” “Butt” is an important part of our book. Since Stonewall knows that his great-great-great-great-Uncle Cyrus got shot in the butt at Bull Run, he assumes that Cyrus turned chicken and was running away from the battle when he got shot. (Of course, once he goes back in time he discovers that Cyrus is brave to the point of lunacy.)
So, there’s Michael Hemphill, my co-author, doing a library reading and coming to the first mention of the butt wound. Which is generally greeted by laughs. But not by one family. When they heard the word “butt” the kids all turned to Mom to see how she would react — stony silence.
Needless to say, they didn’t buy a copy.
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