I own an adult poetry anthology, with accompanying CDs of the poets reading their work, called Poetry Speaks. While I haven’t read it cover to cover, I have listened to some of the poets and flipped through the book. I have enjoyed it. When I saw Poetry Speaks to Children on the juvenile nonfiction shelf at the library, I picked it up. I am always looking for a chance to introduce my son to some of the great poets too. (more…)
When my son was a young infant in the middle of 2008, and I purchased Professor Seth Lerer’s Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History and spent months reading and rereading chapters, hoping to gain a better understanding of where children’s literature fits in the world history. Although I’ve since finished the book, I still plan on rereading portions and finding children’s literature that I can read to fit the eras Lerer discusses about what children read (see my project page; I haven’t done much with this project lately, but it is an ongoing project).
Then I saw Emily’s review of Professor Lerer’s Inventing English last year. Since I love language, I loved the idea of little episodes of the history of the language. I also read this slowly, simply because the subject of the early development of English is new to me. (Yes, despite the fact that I was an English major in college, I don’t recall much of the historical development of early, Old English.)
In the end, both books are ones I can recommend to fans of language and nonfiction.
I reread three E.B. White favorites from my childhood this week, and as I’ve realized with other childhood favorites, these aren’t so favorite anymore. I reread Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little. I enjoyed them, but they are each a little odd.
I realized when I went to write up my thoughts that I’m inclined to mention the endings, but the more I thought about it, I realized I can’t discuss these books as an adult without doing so, since the overall themes are what interest me. In some respects, knowing the ending of children’s books, though, doesn’t really seem to “spoil” the book, since children’s books are more about the stories, the feel, and the overall themes.
What do you think? Does knowing the ending of a 150-page children’s book “spoil” it for you? What if you take the fact that these books are 30-60 years old in to consideration?
I don’t think knowing the endings would spoil these novels, but if you think it would, don’t read the rest of this post.
I wrote a “review” of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne in my pre-book blogging days (reposted on Rebecca Reads here) when I first read A.A. Milne to my son at age 4 months. I reread both books to him again over the last two months, now that he’s almost 2 years old.
I should say that my son loved it. As in: he specifically requested most days that I read to him about Pooh and pointed to the book on the shelf. As in: he would come running over to my side to see the pictures and yell “Pooh!” when he found his bear on the page. As in: when I turned the last page of Pooh Corner and closed the book, he looked up and said “More?! Pooh?!”
Since I already have reviewed it, I thought I’d do something different this time. Chance #9 for the Take a Chance Challenge is to review something in poetry. It seems appropriate to write a “review” of Milne in poetry because Pooh likes to put a rhyme (a hum) to everything.
Please forgive my non-poetic offering. I know I’m just building stereotypes of poetry as bad, but hey, I can pretend I’m a poet, right?
It ended up pretty short for the time I spent putting this together. I could write more, but I think I’ve spent long enough already! (more…)
In Chapter 6 of my history of children’s literature textbook, Children’s Literature, Seth Lerer indicates:
Almost from its original publication in 1719, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe had an immense impact on literature for children and adults. It has been widely seen as one of the first major novels in English; as the stimulus for a range of adventure stories; as the kernel for abridgments and adaptations; and as the marker for particular personal and political experience. (page 129)
I can believe that. I liked Robinson Crusoe’s themes (reviewed here), and I can see how people through history could pick and choose various themes to expand upon both in criticism and when creating adaptations.
For the sake of this month’s project, I decided to look at some of the modern-day abridgments and adaptations of Robinson Crusoe to determine how it is still viewed. In Lerer’s analysis of some of the adaptations from the 1800s, he observers that many of the themes of Robinson Crusoe are taken away in making it an adventure story, and each rewritten version focused on a different moral lesson. The main difference among all the early retellings was the tone (page 137).
I came to this project torn as to whether abridgments for children are good. I wished that I could determined that adapters are more faithful to the original in this day and age, but I also wished I could suggest that everyone just stay with the original, simply because I like classics to be left alone.
In the end, I’d suggest that there are similar changes in tone in the various children’s adaptations of Robinson Crusoe today, and some of them eliminate or completely rewrite the major themes of Robinson Crusoe. But this is not always bad. (more…)