Category: Children’s Literature

  • Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey Novel Study

    Bad Guys is a bestselling Australian early reader by Australian author and illustrator Aaron Blabey. The Bad Guys series is frequently recommended for kids who enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Treehouse series, stories by David Walliams, Ahn Do Weirdo, the Real Pigeons series, Minecraft Zombie books and other children’s books parents can find at Kmart and Target.

  • Fairies in Art and Illustration

    Fairy Passage

    Much can be said about fairies but a few nuggets of info have stuck with me as I read about them. Also: Some of my favourite fairy art.

  • Books About Boys Who Dance

    Some of the books below are specifically about boys and men who dance. Others are more generally about celebrating boys who break free of expected masculine roles. Unfortunately there’s still a way to go before book publishing breaks away from the strict gender binary. That’s why we’re still getting books which say, “Boys can do […]

  • Children’s Books About Atoms, Elements and the Periodic Table

    The elements : a visual exploration of every known atom in the universe by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann (2009) This book has garnered a cult following with adults as much as with kids. This may partly be to do with the fact that they released an impressive app for iPad back when the iPad…

  • Movements In Children’s Literature

    When looking at the development of children’s literature over the past two and a half centuries (which is about all you get, because children’s literature is a distinct and recent entity) two major movements have been influential: Romanticism and Modernism in the 18th and 19th centuries Postmodernism, Surrealism and a bunch of other -isms came…

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

    The Secret Garden cover by Graham Rust Mary looking in through the gate

    The Secret Garden is a novel by British-American Frances Hodgson Burnett, originally published in serialised form in America between 1910-11, the end of the Edwardian era in England. We now consider this a story for children, probably because the main characters are children. Surprising to me: this story was originally aimed at an adult readership.…

  • The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame Analysis

    A man in the shape of a Mole’s body feels a yearning which can only be fulfilled by entering the most transgressive parts of his own psychology, externally represented by the Wild Wood. On his journey, he meets other men, each driven by their own secret (and not so secret) passions.

  • Foxes In Children’s Literature

    Ebenezer Newman Downard - Winter Landscape with Fox and Hares

    A fox is a wolf who sends flowers. Ruth Weston Arthur Applebee asked a group of pre-school children to tell him the characters of a list of animals. They were more certain of the stereotypical personalities of animals they could only have met in stories, such as brave lions or sly foxes, than of the…

  • Tree Houses, Forts and Huts in Children’s Illustration

    No Girls Allowed by Stevan Dohanos

    One major task for the children’s storyteller: Getting parents out of the story. Children need to be the drivers of their own narratives. Storytellers have come up with many ways of getting adult helpers and caregivers out of the way. Here’s another: Give the child a home of their own. Within the world of the…

  • Ideology In Children’s Literature: Against The Cult Of Busyness

    In general, laziness in child heroes is a big no-no. But there is definitely a happy medium so far as children’s book creators are concerned. Once you become so busy that you neglect your loved ones, you’re working too hard. Many children’s books are about grandparents and grandchildren. In many stories, only the grandparent has time…

  • Edwardo The Horriblest Boy In The Whole Wide World by John Burningham and Fabulously Naughty Children

    Edwardo The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World John Burningham cover

    Edwardo, The Horriblest Boy In The Whole Wide World, written and illustrated by John Burningham (2006), is an excellent example of this modern ideology of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ children, specifically how there is no such thing as good vs bad, but we’re all a little yin yang and can go either way depending on how…

  • The Storybook Police Archetype

    Mary Petty (1899-1976) 1943

    Australia has a uniquely trusting relationship with its police force. We might say the image of police here in Australia is based on a storybook image, one which is cultivated in white kids from the time we start reading children’s books. The only feelings mankind has inspired in policemen are indifference and scorn. UN FLIC…