I’ve mentioned many times the bewildering number of culture gaps ‘twixt the UK and the US. I’m not making a case for cultural superiority of either, though I would draw the world’s attention to the concept of aerosol cheese.

I’ve also mentioned before the release last year of a new crop of Ladybird books, aimed at the adult market and with a tongue placed firmly in cheek.


These have been successfully translated into Finnish (is that Suomi?) and Chinese. But the authors had their major problem with preparations for the American market. The transatlanteans really went to town.

I can understand changing the term ‘Cockney mindfulness’ to ‘white rapper mindfulness,’ just about, though apart from Eminem I can’t think of too many mindful white rappers. Yes, the Americans might not know about Frazzle bacon crisps, which is their loss, but I can understand the change to Cheetos. These again are, like aerosol cheese, foul, but at least they’re comprehensible.

Then the editors couldn’t grasp the notion of ‘poorly’. There was a gag about a raw eater whose raw chicken ‘had made her very poorly.’ Everybody in the UK would get this as meaning unwell or sick, but not in the US. An editorial note said, ‘Poorly what? Word missing? Poorly made up?’ No grasp of the idea of ‘poorly’ as an adjective instead of an adverb.

Then the name Simon had to be changed. Why? The name sounds too much like a la-de-dah lord. The only Simon I know is an eastender who’s as rough as a badger’s arse as they say. Hector was a no-no too. It’s racist apparently. There was I thinking it was the name of a Trojan prince in Greek mythology. Silly me.

I’m looking forward to the new series due out soon, and which will include the Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse. Meanwhile the authors have given up on the American market.