This month I’m blogging a series aimed at teaching kids how to structure a story. This seven-step structure works for all forms of narrative. It works for picture books, songs, commercials, films and novels. Today I take a close look at another Dr Seuss early reader, Green Eggs and Ham.
Green Eggs and Ham is buddy comedy from the late 1950s with aspects of the carnivalesque. It also makes use of a mythic journey to beef up the word count and ends in a clear character arc.
Hard to believe, but this book was banned in China, for promoting Marxism. (They lifted the ban after Dr Seuss died.)
STORY STRUCTURE OF GREEN EGGS AND HAM
If Green Eggs and Ham were a movie and not an early reader, it would be called an ‘odd couple’ or ‘buddy comedy’ film. Continue reading “Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss”
About A Boy is a 2002 British transgression comedy based on a Nick Hornby novel of the same name. In its own way, About A Boy is also a kind of buddy comedy, though the buddies are vastly different in age.
ABOUT A BOY SYMBOLIC TITLE
The boy in this title refers to not one but two boys — one is young but the other is 38 years old and still behaving like a child. The title tells us there’s a boy, singular, and at first tricks us into thinking it’s about the young boy. We will soon realise that the young boy is mature beyond his years and that the boy in the title refers to the grown man. Continue reading “About A Boy Film Study”
Jeff Kinney’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid was first published in 2004. The twelfth in the series is due November 2017. Kinney originally planned ten, unless the quality dropped off. At this point he plans to continue indefinitely, so long as they’re still popular.
Television tie-ins, film versions and highly illustrated diaries of the Wimpy Kid ilk are all consumed in abundance. Such books should not be despised as merely unchallenging, or even pernicious (as Enid Blyton once was by disapproving parents and teachers); welcoming, accessible work, full of deftly harnessed silliness and engaging illustration, plays a critical role in the reader’s development, teaching by stealth the power of a punchline or a single phrase or word, and makes the act of reading pleasurable in a way that data-driven literacy objectives often do not. Predictable formulae, comforting, unchallenging narrative arcs and repeated re-reading allow a child to build a solid foundation of enjoyment from which he or she can go far.
— Imogen Russell Williams
THE AUDIENCE OF DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
By this point in his career, Kinney knows his audience really well.
“Kids usually discover my books around seven or eight. Once they are nine they really understand them. They read them until about 13, when they grow out of them.”
“You can’t really write for kids or you might write down to kids.”
ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
Continue reading “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid And The Buddy Comedy”