Today, I’m using the opportunity of not having any other reviews written to share thoughts on kid’s books I reviewed a long time ago and never posted. Some of these are ones my son loved; others he was too young for at the time we read them and we will probably visit them again in the future.Continue Reading
I went through a summer children’s and YA binge during my blogging break. These books did not take long to read, and I read them for the pure entertainment value. They also are not ones that I’ll remember for long, although they were enjoyable. It may be that I am not thinking much of them because I was in a not-thinking-much mood; after all, these were my breaks from Victorian literature.
If you are looking for a light fantasy read to fit a craving, maybe one of these will bit the bill.
I share brief thoughts below on the following books:
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
- Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
- The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The introduction to my volume of Zora Neale Hurston’s retelling of the Biblical Exodus calls this a “badly flawed novel” and I’m sure it is. Hurston is basing her novel on a Biblical tale that lacks strong women characters, and she’s trying to make it feel modern. The introduction also criticizes the stereotyped way in which Hurston tries to capture black speech. It’s not written in dialect, but it does capture idioms and mannerisms.
All that said, I really liked reading Moses, Man of the Mountain. I have a fascination with retellings of the Exodus.* Because of that interest, then, I liked Hurston’s novel simply because of the premise: tell the story of Moses and the Hebrews basing it on African-American folkloric practices (hoodoo and magic).Continue Reading
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.Continue Reading