>Maybe this is what Susan Patron was thinking.

>In his powerful new picture book memoir The Wall (Frances Foster/FSG, forthcoming in September), Peter Śís quotes from his journals about the darkness following the Prague Spring of 1968:

There is a whole science to learn about dealing with censors. You have to give them something to change. For instance, if you’re making a film or a painting, or writing a book or a song, you put in a big church. You can be sure the censors will tell you to take it out, and perhaps they won’t notice the smaller, important things. Theater people have the “little white dog” theory. If you let a little white dog parade across the front of the stage, the censors won’t notice what is happening in the background.

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Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.


  1. shahairyzad says:

    >You mean she was using sleight-of-scrotum? What was it supposed to distract us from? Was there something weightier that I missed?

    Maybe, in this case, the little white scrotum parades around the front of the stage to keep us from noticing that nothing’s going on in the background. At least, nothing new.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >We can only imagine what Patron originally put in the manuscript to distract the folks at Atheneum from “scrotum.” Whatever it was, it worked! Nice job!

  3. Anonymous says:

    >did anybody but me think that she botched Darwin’s
    theory? everybody was in an uproar about scrotums, but no one mentioned the bad science in any reviews I’ve seen.

  4. >Robert Heinlein said something similar, but ruder, about editors. One of his avatars is dictating a story to one of several amenuenses (sp?), who objects to one element. The author says (if I remember aright), “You have to let the editor pee in it so he likes the taste.”

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