Children's Literature: An Illustrated History

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Oxford University Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 378 pages
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From the wise and foolish beasts of Aesop's Fables to the creatures in Max's closet in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, from Frances Hodgson Burnett's Little Lord Fauntleroy to the angst-ridden teenagers in Judy Blume's novels, children's literature reveals not only how drastically our perceptions of children have changed, but how tenaciously the age-old tears, fears, schemes, and dreams of childhood have stayed the same. Lavishly illustrated and wonderfully eclectic in scope, Children's Literature: An Illustrated History celebrates this brilliant legacy and its lasting relevance to childhoods past and present.
Edited by the acclaimed children's author and editor Peter Hunt, and written by a truly international team of experts, this delightful volume is unsurpassed in breadth and depth. It traces the history of children's literature in English from the earliest hornbooks and classical translations, through nonsense rhymes, fairy and folk tales, to today's multimedia comic books and computer-based interactive adventures. Ranging across the centuries from Great Britain to the United States to Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, its lively commentary is accompanied by hundreds of full-color and black- and-white illustrations, including many rare reproductions. All the classics of the genre are examined: Old Mother Hubbard, Oliver Twist, the legends and tales of Hans Andersen, Edward Lear, and Oscar Wilde, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Little Women, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, and many, many more. Here as well are works less literary but no less beloved: The Velveteen Rabbit, and the series adventures of the Bobbsey Twins, the Hardy Boys, Enid Blyton's school girl heroines, and the inimitable Nancy Drew. Special attention is paid to the most popular and acclaimed of today's writing for children: the wondrous pictures books of Chris Van Allsburg, Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah Plain and Tall, and others destined to be classics of tomorrow. Throughout, there is in-depth discussion not only of the influences and inspiration of individual authors, but of the underlying social forces that shaped the tastes and perceptions of writers and their young readers alike.
Beautiful to look at and a joy to read, this landmark volume is at once an indispensable reference and a compelling history of a vital part of our literature. It is filled with the unexpected insights and sense of discovery that distinguish the best writing for children.

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About the author (1995)

Senior Lecturer in English and Children's Literature at the University of Wales, Peter Hunt organized the first course on children's literature at a UK university. His many books on the subject include An Introduction to Children's Literature, published in Oxford's OPUS series earlier thisyear.

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