Boys and Girls Forever: Children's Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter

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In this engaging series of essays, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alison Lurie explores the theory that the best children's book authors have often preferred the world of young people to the world of adults. Lurie looks at children's classics from every era and relates them to the authors who wrote them, including Little Women author Louisa May Alcott and Wizard of Oz author Frank Baum, as well as Dr. Seuss and Salman Rushdie. In the process she reveals how these gifted writers have used children's literature to ...
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Boys and Girls Forever: Children's Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter

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Overview

In this engaging series of essays, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alison Lurie explores the theory that the best children's book authors have often preferred the world of young people to the world of adults. Lurie looks at children's classics from every era and relates them to the authors who wrote them, including Little Women author Louisa May Alcott and Wizard of Oz author Frank Baum, as well as Dr. Seuss and Salman Rushdie. In the process she reveals how these gifted writers have used children's literature to transfigure sorrow, nostalgia, and the struggles of their own experiences.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A perceptive critic, Lurie (Don't Tell the Grown-Ups) has long been a close observer of children's literature. This welcome volume collects a number of her essays on the subject, most of which appeared in other versions in the New York Review of Books. As she wittily deconstructs the lives and works of authors as varied as Louisa May Alcott ("she was the daughter of what would now be described as vegetarian hippie intellectuals, with fringe religious and social beliefs, and spent nearly a year of her childhood in an unsuccessful commune"), Hans Christian Andersen, J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss, a common theme emerges, for Lurie contends that those who write best for children are "in some essential way... children themselves." James Barrie liked to play pirates and Indians; Babar author Laurent deBrunhoff climbed trees into his 70s and John Masefield's daughter described him as "a wonderful playmate - essentially, another child." Children's book authors may bristle at this assertion, as well as at Lurie's somewhat offhand dismissal of the art of children's literature. Speaking of "established authors" who try their hand at writing for children, for instance, she notes "they are as it were on vacation, and under no pressure to produce a Great Work." Still, the essays are consistently entertaining, enlightening and erudite, and Lurie's insights into a host of classic titles, including such topics as gender role reversal and social satire in the Oz books, the enduring power of symbolism in fairy tales and changing literary tastes over the past two centuries, bring clarity to an always-evolving form. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099453895
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006

Meet the Author

Alison Lurie

Alison Lurie is the author of many highly praised novels, including The War Between the Tates, The Truth About Lorin Jones (Prix Femina Etranger), and Foreign Affairs (Pulitzer Prize for fiction). Her most recent book was Familiar Spirits. She teaches writing, folklore, and literature at Cornell University.

Biography

Alison Lurie is the author of many highly praised novels, including The War Between the Tates, The Truth About Lorin Jones (Prix Femina Etranger), and Foreign Affairs (Pulitzer Prize for fiction). She teaches writing, folklore, and literature at Cornell University.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Hometown:
      Ithaca, New York; London, England; Key West, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 3, 1926
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      A.B., Radcliffe College, 1947

Table of Contents

Foreword
The Underduckling: Hans Christian Andersen 1
Little Women and Big Girls: Louisa May Alcott 13
The Oddness of Oz 25
Is There Anybody There? Walter De La Mare's Solitary Child 47
John Masefield's Boxes of Delight 63
Moomintroll and his Friends 79
Dr. Seuss Comes Back 91
Haroun and the Sea of Stories 105
The Perils of Harry Potter 113
What Fairy Tales Tell Us 125
Boys and Girls Come Out to Play: Children's Games 139
Poetry by and for Children 149
Louder than Words: Children's Book Illustrations 159
Enchanted Forests and Secret Gardens: Nature in Children's Literature 171
Notes 187
Bibliography 199
Index 209
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Cinderella?

    What does that have to do with harry potter?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    ?????????

    THIS MAKES NO FUKING SENSE

    -TDOG

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Reading rebal

    LAME!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Reviewer

    Facinating

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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