Through the Looking Glass: Further Adventures and Misadventures in the Realm of Children's Literature

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David R. Godine Publisher, Nov 1, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 247 pages
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A writer & CRITIC with a broad grasp of her subject, an acute eye for talent (and occasionally genius), and a sure prose style, Selma Lanes is our grande dame of children's literature. She wrote the definitive book on Maurice Sendak. She has contributed countless articles on the primary protagonists and players in the field, many published in her previous book, Down the Rabbit Hole. This new collection includes further essays on the masters she most admires: Sendak, Steig, Gorey, L. Frank Baum, Tomi Ungerer, Jack Keats, Margot Zemach, and one editor of genius, Ursula Nordstrom. What concerns Lanes most is the integration of text and image, the abilities of authors and artists of picture books to somehow change our perceptions. In a larger sense, she asks, What makes some children's books work and others fail? How does art for the young reflect, distort or create a social perspective? Earlier she observed, With the possible exception of advertising and film, no popular medium in our time has been as experimental, inventive, and simply alive as children's books. In the present atmosphere of mergers and corporate conglomerates that now define mainstream publishing, she wonders if this remains true. Is the field still dominated, as formerly, by a devoted cadre of geniuses able to spot and encourage talent, willing to take risks, and ferocious in their desire to bring children the best that authors and illustrators have to offer? This book provides her answers, as well as affectionate salutes to the writers and artists whose work deserves to be remembered.

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On Judging
Pictures at Two Exhibitions
The Tale of Mrs William Heelis
Sendaks Graphic Grand Operas
Tomi Ungerers Unlikely Heroes
Odes to Two Craftsmen
Some Editor
A Talk with Natalie Babbitt
PC or Not to Be?
Songs of Praise

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About the author (2006)

Selma G. Lanes was the author of several books including The Art of Maurice Sendak and Down the Rabbit Hole: Adventures and Misadventures in the Realm of Children's Literature. She served as editor of Parents magazine, editor-in-chief of Parents Magazine Press and managing editor of Western Publishing's children's book division. She was also a reviewer of children's literature for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, and other publications. She died due to Parkinson's disease on April 8, 2009 at the age of 80.

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