Writing about little people # 2

The other day I gobbled down a great mystery (I´ll tell you more soon). But one paragraph made me put down the book and protest vehemently. My poor family. And now it is your turn. Can´t be helped.

The Danish writer tells us that little Lily runs towards a male visitor (tall, I presume).

“She was about as tall as his knee”.

Comments, please:

1) how tall is a tall man´s knee? (If you have no idea, try to consider the height of a dining table).

2) how tall – and how old – would that make the little girl?


Thank you for your input. 

Yes, something is clearly wrong.

According to the writer, the little girl is nearly three. Average length of a Danish child = 95 cm

The average length of tibia (the large bone below the knee) = 43 cm

The height of a dining table = 70-75 cm (have you ever met a man who could not squeeze his knees under a dining table???

So all you brilliant writers out there who struggle so hard to get your research right, please try to be just as thorough when you write about children.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in Sissel-Jo Gazan. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Writing about little people # 2

  1. Funny! Maybe she was short for her age…

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – Oh, I know exactly what you mean! Things like that can pull a reader right out of a book. I notice them too, but perhaps that’s the linguist in me….

  3. Ann says:

    That would have stopped me too.
    Thanks for your kind words on my blog today, Dorte. Yes, we are both successful and we continue to grow in our writing endeavors.
    I value you as a writing friend too.
    (I’m not sure if my previous comment when through so you may have a duplicate)

  4. Belle Wong says:

    Maybe Lily is a changeling, a member of the wee fairy folk, switched at birth? 😉

  5. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: My first reaction was to think there was some form of misprint but then I realized there is no variation of knee that could relate to height.

  6. Clarissa: hopefully not as small as that!
    Margot: as you know, I get so annoyed when writers assume children are doll-sized 🙂
    Ann: thank you for your nice comment.
    Belle: that was what I thought 😉
    Bill: if the phrase is not clear, it is entirely my fault. What I meant was the child was ´knee high´.

  7. Kelly says:

    Ha! Crawled maybe?

  8. Joanne says:

    He would have to be a giant. Simple solution. 😉

  9. Patti Abbott says:

    Or men never notice children. If the author is a man.

  10. Kelly: yes, I think so 🙂
    Joanne: I am not quite able to figure out how tall he would be, but definitely a giant.
    Patti: it is a woman. I have just googled her, and it seems she has no family. Still, as she is extremely knowledgeable in many other ways, she could have asked someone who actually has a little girl.

  11. Poly says:

    That must be an error the “beta-reader” have overlooked!!
    Otherwise it’s a fairytale figure! ;-D
    I went in for a search for average measurements for a Human Figure.
    Have a look at this link:
    The inches can be converted at this link: http://www.manuelsweb.com/ft_in_cm.htm

  12. Ann says:

    Dorte, I posted a review of Heather Farm today.

  13. lrbauthor says:

    My guess–as a grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 5–would be approximately 3 years old. Perhaps slightly older depending on family genetics.

  14. Pingback: Sissel-Jo Gazan, Dinosaurens fjer (2008) | djskrimiblog

  15. Thank you so much, Ann!

  16. Heather says:

    What a tiny little girl, she must be a primordial dwarf, but then surprising that she would be so mobile at 3. Else, the man has that pituitary gland problem and he never stopped growing.

  17. Dorte H says:

    Heather: you are quite right. And it so annoys me when writers write such a silly thing – they often spend so much time researching everything else.

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