Monday, September 26, 2011

The Children's Authors Who Broke the Rules

From The New York Times, The Children's Authors Who Broke the Rules

The stylistic eccentricities of Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and Theodor Geisel, a k a Dr. Seuss, are so much a part of the childhood vernacular today that it’s hard to imagine their books were once considered by some to be wholly inappropriate for children.

Yet these three authors — who each have a new book coming out this month in what can only be described as a Seussian coincidence (“But, see! We are as good as you. Look! Now we have new books, too!”) — challenged the conception of what a children’s book should be. And children’s literature, happily, has never been the same.

Judging by the reactions to Bumble-Ardy, some people STILL regard these books to be inappropriate for children!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Little Golden Books

A piece from Mental Floss on the history of Little Golden Books

I still have my old stuffed Poky Little Puppy toy! 

There’s a good chance you grew up reading the adventures of The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, or Scuffy the Tugboat in the pages of Little Golden Books. Come along as we look at the history of these tiny tomes with the gold foil spine that have helped generations of kids learn to appreciate the printed word.

Before the introduction of Little Golden Books in 1942, children’s books were not really made for children. They were usually large volumes that were too difficult for young readers to handle or comprehend, and were awfully expensive at $2 to $3 each (about $28 – $42 today). But George Duplaix of the Artist’s and Writer’s Guild, in partnership with Simon & Schuster Publications and Western Printing, wanted to change all that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

So Sleepy Story

Another favorite book of mine for Joseph's bedtime reading is So Sleepy Story by Uri Shulevitz. It is short, sweet, and without a preachy message. Just a nice, sleepy book to finish off a baby's day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A good piece from The Atlantic on Maurice Sendak's new book, Bumble-Ardy. I like the defense of subject matter in his books that some parents deem inappropriate for kids.

This month marks the end of a long, strange silence: For the first time in 30 years, Maurice Sendak has published a book that he both wrote and drew. 

...' books—the best ones—can challenge and edify children the same way we expect adult literature to challenge and edify us. By dumbing down or censoring their libraries we deprive children of the crucial means of confronting, then mastering, their fears. We take away their hope of finally letting go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl

Today would have been Roald Dahl’s 95th birthday had he not died at the age of 74 in 1990. This year also marks the birthday of one of his most beloved books, “James and the Giant Peach,” which was published in the United States 50 years ago.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Joan Kiddell-Monroe

Another great forward from my uncle via 50 Watts (a site I will be linking to), Forgotten Illustrator: Joan Kiddell-Monroe. Such, beautiful, free-flowing work. Mine feels so tight and restrained and blah by comparison. 

Joan Kiddell-Monroe (1908–1972) was a British-born author and illustrator of children's books. I've been collecting her work from the 50s and 60s for the Oxford Myths series. Read more about her at wikipedia. Maybe someday I'll visit her papers.