We need more swearing in children’s books

Swearing is one of life’s most joyous and creative releases – we must teach it early

British author Philip Pullman: miscreant or mothereffing maverick? Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

British author Philip Pullman: miscreant or mothereffing maverick? Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

A recent fulmination in the Daily Mail called up unexpected memories of Mrs Doyle quoting an imaginary bonkbuster on Father Ted. “Then there’s the bad f-word. Worse than ‘feck’,” she explained. “F you and your effing wife, I’ll stick this effing pitchfork up your hole.”

Lord knows what Mrs Doyle would have made of the prequel to His Dark Materials. “Philip Pullman litters new children’s book with swear words,” the Mail bellowed. “Contains the f-word, bloody, b*****ks and b*****ds throughout the new book.” That’s the bad f-word. You know? Worse than feck.

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