Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood [NOOK Book]

Overview

Highly illuminating for parents, vital for students and book lovers alike, Enchanted Hunters transforms our understanding of why children should read.


Ever wondered why little children love listening to stories, why older ones get lost in certain books? In this enthralling work, Maria Tatar challenges many of our assumptions about childhood reading. Much as our culture pays lip service to the importance of literature, we rarely examine the creative and cognitive benefits of ...
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Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood

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Overview

Highly illuminating for parents, vital for students and book lovers alike, Enchanted Hunters transforms our understanding of why children should read.


Ever wondered why little children love listening to stories, why older ones get lost in certain books? In this enthralling work, Maria Tatar challenges many of our assumptions about childhood reading. Much as our culture pays lip service to the importance of literature, we rarely examine the creative and cognitive benefits of reading from infancy through adolescence. By exploring how beauty and horror operated in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, and many other narratives, Tatar provides a delightful work for parents, teachers, and general readers, not just examining how and what children read but also showing through vivid examples how literature transports and transforms children with its intoxicating, captivating, and occasionally terrifying energy. In the tradition of Bruno Bettelheim’s landmark The Uses of Enchantment, Tatar’s book is not only a compelling journey into the world of childhood but a trip back for adult readers as well.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Most adult book lovers start as child story lovers. Their parents probably read them to sleep when they were little, and they probably stayed up late reading under the covers when they were a bit older. But what is it about those childhood stories that captured the imagination of story-loving children? Tatar (John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard Univ.; The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales) attempts to answer that question in this enchanting book. She examines many aspects of children's literature, from why we read children to sleep, to death and its role in children's stories, to the effect of words on young minds. Tatar uses the recollections of famous writers and readers (compiled in an engrossing appendix) as her source material to argue convincingly that children are drawn to stories not as a form of escape but as a way to understand and explore themselves and the world around them in a safe yet exciting way. Highly recommended for bibliophiles in public and academic libraries.
—Deborah Hicks

Kirkus Reviews
An academic-popular hybrid seeks to redeem children passionate about reading from the derogative label of bookworm. The act of reading is an active rather than a passive experience, avers Tatar (Germanic Languages and Literature/Harvard Univ.; The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, 2002, etc.). She adopts a personal tone in this exploration of children's interaction with their literature, introducing in a disarming fashion her bedtime reading with her offspring before launching into a brief history of children's literature followed by closer readings of several sacred childhood texts. Pulling her examples from both popular sources (she spends a lot of time with E.T.) and academic (Walter Benjamin figures prominently), as well as the recollections of her students, the author argues that a child reading is every bit as fervently engaged as a child at play. The best children's literature, she continues, is designed to feed into and play off their need for wonder and adventure. Works covered include such venerable favorites as Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden but also roam forward in time to survey the contributions of Norton Juster, Philip Pullman and Dr. Seuss-indeed, the most piercing and sprightly observations come from Tatar's reading of The Cat in the Hat. Despite attempts to keep the tone conversational, the author's academic roots show: Words like transgressive and anomie rear their ugly heads, and at times the text feels like a digest of university lectures. Still, Tatar's genuine fondness for her subject is palpable. "We can all remember the jolts and shimmer of books we read as children," she writes. "That is why we revisit them as adults raising or educating children." And"Souvenirs of Reading," a collection of excerpts from writers' recollections their childhood favorites, is easily one of the most endearing appendices ever affixed to a semi-scholarly work. Despite the jargon and occasional stuffiness, a cheering paean to children and reading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393240047
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/22/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 905,046
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Maria Tatar chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. She is the author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood, Off with Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood and many other books on folklore and fairy stories. She is also the editor and translator of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, The Annotated Peter Pan, The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition and The Grimm Reader. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2013

    The subtitle, "the power of stories in childhood", inf

    The subtitle, "the power of stories in childhood", informs the reader not only about the subject of this fascinating book, it also suggests the significance the author attributes to the stories of childhood. Her analysis of children's literature, "Let us, for a moment draw back the curtain to see exactly how the great wizards of the literary world have worked their magic", as well as her many insights into the effects of that magic -- whether experienced through bedside stories or childhood reading -- are both insightful and informative. I found Enchanted Hunters to be an excellent and thought provoking book for anyone -- including parents -- interested in children's literature, reading, and the impact on the young who enter this realm of the imagination.

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