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Boys and Girls Forever : Children's Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
Walmart # 559066535
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Publishers Weekly,A perceptive critic, Lurie (Don't Tell the Grown-Ups) has long been a close observer of children's literature. This welcome volume collects a number of her essays on the subject, most of which appeared in other versions in the New York Review of Books. As she wittily deconstructs the lives and works of authors as varied as Louisa May Alcott ("she was the daughter of what would now be described as vegetarian hippie intellectuals, with fringe religious and social beliefs, and spent nearly a year of her childhood in an unsuccessful commune"), Hans Christian Andersen, J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss, a common theme emerges, for Lurie contends that those who write best for children are "in some essential way... children themselves." James Barrie liked to play pirates and Indians; Babar author Laurent deBrunhoff climbed trees into his 70s and John Masefield's daughter described him as "a wonderful playmate - essentially, another child." Children's book authors may bristle at this assertion, as well as at Lurie's somewhat offhand dismissal of the art of children's literature. Speaking of "established authors" who try their hand at writing for children, for instance, she notes "they are as it were on vacation, and under no pressure to produce a Great Work." Still, the essays are consistently entertaining, enlightening and erudite, and Lurie's insights into a host of classic titles, including such topics as gender role reversal and social satire in the Oz books, the enduring power of symbolism in fairy tales and changing literary tastes over the past two centuries, bring clarity to an always-evolving form. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Specifications

Publisher
Penguin Publishing Group
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
240
Author
Alison Lurie
ISBN-13
9780142002520
Publication Date
December, 2002
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.01 x 5.33 x 0.48 Inches
ISBN-10
0142002526

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Luries collection of ...

Lurie's collection of essays on children's literature starts well, devoting the first half to the analysis of writers and poets who have written principally for children. Included in her review are Alcott, Rowling, de la Mare, Dr. Seuss, Masefield, Baum and, though not a children's writer for the most part, Rushdie. Her premise is that these writers retained an essentially child- like view of the world. Her evaluation of de la Mare and Masefield along these lines is keenly sympathetic. It is a shame that their works are no longer easily found. The second half is more of a hodge-podge of literary criticism and reviews. One focuses on the Opie's study of children's play and rhymes, a work into which I have long wanted to delve. Others on near magical quality of nature in children's stories, illustration as enhancement as well as clues to social values, and of the need for fairy tales are lacking. Little is said here that hasn't been said before, and, often, better. The second set of essays has an catalogue style. Overall, Lurie seems to add little original insight into the study of children's literature. Her sprinkling of author trivia tidbits (Masefield ironically suffered horribly from sea sickness) keeps the book enough on the right side of fun. However, it is not likely that any intelligent reader of these works would not have been able to come to the same conclusions. (This is really a 3.5 star book because of the floundering, unfocused 2nd half.)

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Luries collection of ...

Lurie's collection of essays on children's literature starts well, devoting the first half to the analysis of writers and poets who have written principally for children. Included in her review are Alcott, Rowling, de la Mare, Dr. Seuss, Masefield, Baum and, though not a children's writer for the most part, Rushdie. Her premise is that these writers retained an essentially child- like view of the world. Her evaluation of de la Mare and Masefield along these lines is keenly sympathetic. It is a shame that their works are no longer easily found. The second half is more of a hodge-podge of literary criticism and reviews. One focuses on the Opie's study of children's play and rhymes, a work into which I have long wanted to delve. Others on near magical quality of nature in children's stories, illustration as enhancement as well as clues to social values, and of the need for fairy tales are lacking. Little is said here that hasn't been said before, and, often, better. The second set of essays has an catalogue style. Overall, Lurie seems to add little original insight into the study of children's literature. Her sprinkling of author trivia tidbits (Masefield ironically suffered horribly from sea sickness) keeps the book enough on the right side of fun. However, it is not likely that any intelligent reader of these works would not have been able to come to the same conclusions. (This is really a 3.5 star book because of the floundering, unfocused 2nd half.)

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Luries collection of ...

Lurie's collection of essays on children's literature starts well, devoting the first half to the analysis of writers and poets who have written principally for children. Included in her review are Alcott, Rowling, de la Mare, Dr. Seuss, Masefield, Baum and, though not a children's writer for the most part, Rushdie. Her premise is that these writers retained an essentially child- like view of the world. Her evaluation of de la Mare and Masefield along these lines is keenly sympathetic. It is a shame that their works are no longer easily found. The second half is more of a hodge-podge of literary criticism and reviews. One focuses on the Opie's study of children's play and rhymes, a work into which I have long wanted to delve. Others on near magical quality of nature in children's stories, illustration as enhancement as well as clues to social values, and of the need for fairy tales are lacking. Little is said here that hasn't been said before, and, often, better. The second set of essays has an catalogue style. Overall, Lurie seems to add little original insight into the study of children's literature. Her sprinkling of author trivia tidbits (Masefield ironically suffered horribly from sea sickness) keeps the book enough on the right side of fun. However, it is not likely that any intelligent reader of these works would not have been able to come to the same conclusions. (This is really a 3.5 star book because of the floundering, unfocused 2nd half.)


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