If you are interested in a philosophical discussion of paradigm shifts in children s literature from the Greco Roman era to present day, this is the book for you Lerer s work is scholarly and rich The connections he makes between ideology and children s literature are fascinating I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the influence of Darwin on the likes of Dr Suess and Dadaists theoretically, one could imagine that any creature could evolve I don t think I would use this book in a course on Children s Lit at an undergrad level, but it is very interesting to consider the nature of children s literature before it was thus classified The Epilogue resonates, as Lerer is quite clearly fond of words and books Final analysis Children s Literature is not for the faint of heart. I really enjoyed and found helpful Dr Lerer s analysis of ancient literature While I found myself disagreeing with some of his assertions as he discussed modern literature, I do have to admit this book made me rethink some of my own opinions about children s literature. Ever Since Children Have Learned To Read, There Has Been Children S Literature Children S Literature Charts The Makings Of The Western Literary Imagination From Aesop S Fables To Mother Goose, From Alice S Adventures In Wonderland To Peter Pan, From Where The Wild Things Are To Harry PotterThe Only Single Volume Work To Capture The Rich And Diverse History Of Children S Literature In Its Full Panorama, This Extraordinary Book Reveals Why J R R Tolkien, Dr Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, And Many Others, Despite Their Divergent Styles And Subject Matter, Have All Resonated With Generations Of Readers Children S Literature Is An Exhilarating Quest Across Centuries, Continents, And Genres To Discover How, And Why, We First Fall In Love With The Written Word Read it for the history Aesop 19th century if you enjoy historical background and stop there.I got excited about from the introduction and first couple of chapters As a historian and children s librarian, I found the background on older and ancient works quite interesting But once he got to the modern 20th and 21st century I disagreed with just about everything he wrote It seems that he doesn t like or enjoy anything written after 1950 Besides, not every modern book has to be literature, or ironic or pushing an author s agenda These are books for children what about pure fun Additionally, I feel that illustrations are a significant part of children s literature today and he gave it a cursory and weak overview tacked on in the final chapter. The basic thesis of this book is that the history of children s writing is a history of reading of the ways, didactic and otherwise, that books shape our childhoods This works to an extent and fascinating ground is covered Use of Aesop in Ancient Greece , medieval teaching , Puritan literacy that fed secular equivalents , Victorian and Edwardian trends and finally some nods to modern developments His train of thought on how modern books continue to owe to the past and the way texts reflect us is interesting and valuable but, too much of importance is missing The author is right that there isn t room for everything but important trends are missed The teenage detective genre from Nancy Drew who gets a quick passing mention to Enid Blyton May have had its day a bit Alex Rider arguably owes to Bond than Drew but it s influence was huge many women in positions of power today cite Drew as an empowering influence The tracing of the boarding school novel goes no further than the turn of the last century , but through the lines of Billy Bunter , Jennings and again Enid Blyton and Elinor Brent Dyer, the genre survived to flourish as the comprehensive school novel in the new age of social realism in children s writing Bernard Ashley etc before re emerging in the fantastical context of Harry Potter And on the subject of children s realism it was a huge turn that paved the way for tv series such as Grange Hill and Degrassi whose achievements in dealing with young peoples issues was immense , but the only mention here is given to Judy Blume and her then fresh treatment of adolescence and emergent sexuality The ever iconic Roald Dahl to whom it has always seemed to me that Harry Potter, with its neglected childhood into which magic breaks has always owed this intellectual debt is thankfully mentioned via Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fix odd however for a book so focussed on the philology and pedagogy of children s writing to omit Dahl s most bookish heroine , Matilda , feels odd There is also no mention of the childhood gothic the gothic has always under the cloak of fantasy dealt with real emotional issues that real world fiction was slower to allow coverage of in point horror and romance Kay the beginning of the YA genre as it now is again The sole mention goes to Blume Still , interesting all the same though again I could name authors without whom no treatment of myth in children s books Is complete Via audible Boooooorrrriiinnngggg zzzzzzzzzz Being a first grade teacher, I LOVE children s books so I was excited about reading this I have to admit, though, that it took me a long time to finish it The first several chapters were not that interesting to meprobably because they re about ancient literature I ve never heard of The last couple were quite good and made up for the beginning Also, who writes a 30 page introduction It wasn t really 30 pages, but felt like it So grateful to have been able to read this book It has been really helpful to my university degree, and I m hoping to get so much use out of it A very readable book that I used in my History of Children s Literature grad class I enjoyed the historical aspect and how societal changes has affected how books are written and read today. So, this book probably would have been much better from the start if it hadn t called itself a history of children s literature Really, it s a history of pedagogy and child development using literature as somewhat of a thread At times he some interesting things to say, and I did appreciate the general information about eras and themes and all that, but it was so jumbly and missing so much stuff that it was ultimately a lot of nothing Too bad Onto another book.
Professor Seth Lerer 1956 is a contemporary Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, specialising in historical analyses of the English language, in addition to critical analyses of the works of several authors, including in particular Geoffrey Chaucer wikipedia
- 396 pages
- Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter
- Seth Lerer
- 03 February 2019 Seth Lerer