Recently I've been wondering if the adult readership that children's literature now has is shaping its content a bit. I've been reading children's books that I, myself, enjoy, but which I can't help thinking are directed just a little too much toward me.
You may recall that I liked Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer by J.T. Petty, but wondered if the "word play and humor" wasn't a bit too sophisticated. Right now I'm reading Clemency Pogue: The Hobgoblin Proxy. I'm finding the plot a little challenging, anyway, and if the goblin Chaphesmeeso's wit is directed to 8- to 12-year-old readers, they must be very highly educated 8- to 12-year-olds.
In one place Clemency asks Chaph if he is still fast, meaning can he dig through the earth quickly. His response is, "As a hunger artist."
Now, maybe if kids know what "fasting" is, they will get the connection between fasting and hunger. But "hunger artist" refers to performers who starved themselves and charged people to look at them. I only know the expression because a couple of years ago I was part of an on-line reading group, and we read the short story A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka.
Aren't references like this meant for adult readers rather than the children for whom the books are supposedly published?