Friday, December 6, 2013
An online daily putting "Hooray!" in your day
Too Large for Adult Fiction
Children's literature both "happens to" and becomes you. As an adult, kids' books are soothing, uplifting, disturbing, courageous and jarring. The books demand something of me--to act, to be, to play, to think...Philip Pullman states it squarely, when he speaks of children's literature, "There are some themes, some subjects too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book."
The books I'm recommending for adults and children this year are classics. They deal with subject matter that requires our attention, particularly if we strive to be better human beings. The Velveteen Rabbit authored by Margery Williams in 1922 asks us to look at the question of authenticity. What does it mean to be real?
Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth (which is the same age as this blogger!) cleverly takes the reader through the Mountains of Ignorance, Digitopolis, the Sea of Knowledge, the Doldrums and jumps to Conclusions. The question posed without being posed is "How do I make sense of this world?" Milo (the boy on this adventure) laments to the princesses, Rhyme and Reason, who have been banished from their land, "Many of the things I'm supposed to know seem so useless that I can't see the purpose in learning them at all." Reason replies, "You may not see it now, but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else...Whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer."
Old Turtle, by Douglas White (and illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee) asks the question, "Who is God?" through the voices of the animal world. No matter what you believe about God's existence or not, you will surely be moved by the wisdom of Old Turtle
And finally, the book that answers the question, "What do you get the person who has everything?" The answer is in it's title, The Gift of Nothing by cartoonist and author, Patrick McDonnell. The popular comic strip, Mutts, is the starting place for this profound little book. Mooch, the cat gives Earl, the dog, the perfect gift.
And good gifts these books are! I'm ordering more copies now for the season ahead because even the most-difficult-to buy-for LOVE these classics.
I'm re-reading them now, that's why they are on "Our Bedside Table."
Write in and let us know what children's literature you're reading.
P.S. Heading out to the movie theater this weekend to find out how well Hollywood adapted The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, to the big screen! Can't wait!
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
-- Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Did you know?
From Thailand, a glorious 3 minutes, reminding all of us about the power of small acts of kindness...
Here Are the Books On Our Bedside Table
What are you reading? Check out these wonderful titles. (By the way, some of these "on our bedside table" are actually on our Kindles and Nooks, and other reading devices! What a world we live in, huh? Simply amazing!)
There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book.
-- Philip Pullman
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
-- Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go
Anything can become a children's book if you give it to a child...
Children are actually the best (and worst) audience
for literature because they have no patience with pretense.
-- Orson Scott Card