The Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature

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Some of the most innovative and spell-binding literature has been written for young people, but only recently has academic study embraced its range and complexity. This Companion offers a state-of-the-subject survey of English-language children's literature from the seventeenth century to the present. With discussions ranging from eighteenth-century moral tales to modern fantasies by J. K. Rowling and Philip Pullman, the Companion illuminates acknowledged classics and many more neglected works. Its unique structure means that equal consideration can be given to both texts and contexts. Some chapters analyse key themes and major genres, including humour, poetry, school stories, and picture books. Others explore the sociological dimensions of children's literature and the impact of publishing practices. Written by leading scholars from around the world, this Companion will be essential reading for all students and scholars of children's literature, offering original readings and new research that reflects the latest developments in the field.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[T]here are some critical works with a scope that reaches out to anyone who has questions to ask of children's literature as a whole...The Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature is one of those books....this Companion is both stimulating and illuminating. Such critical insights sharpen our abilities assess what's hot off the presses."
-Deirdre Baker

"The variety of informative contributions contained within this volume—from focused analyzes of themes such as the animal figure or the body, to passionate arguments for form such as in Richard Flynn’s excellent ‘The fear of poetry’ (76–90)—and its elegance of structure ensures that The Cambridge Companion to Children’s Literature cannot fail to be of value to the reader interested in the parallel worlds of children’s books."
-Naomi Milthorpe, Media-Culture Reviews

"The chapters in the collection are broad but not typical in how they approach children's literature. As a whole, the collection is well structured and diverse in its critical approaches [...] As an introduction to children's literature, The Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature is an excellent, straightforward collection that covers the fundamentals. It is also a collection that inspires readers to delve deeper."
-Matthew B. Prickett, Rutgers University at Camden, Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"...each does what it sets out to do-to illuminate different ways of thinking about this strikingly complex subject, with its multiple audiences and their different needs. They would make good, complementary, companions on anyone's shelf."
Peter Hunt,Newcastle University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

M. O. Grenby is Reader in Children's Literature at Newcastle University.

Andrea Immel is Curator of the Cotsen Children's Library at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations vii

Notes on contributors ix

Preface xiii

Chronology Eric J. Johnson xvii

Part I Contexts and Genres

1 The origins of children's literature M. O. Grenby 3

2 Children's books and constructions of childhood Andrea Immel 19

3 The making of children's books Brian Alderson 35

4 Picture-book worlds and ways of seeing Katie Trumpener 55

5 The fear of poetry Richard Flynn 76

6 Retelling stones across time and cultures John Stephens 91

7 Classics and canons Deborah Stevenson 108

Part II Audiences

8 Learning to be literate Lissa Paul 127

9 Gender roles in children s fiction Judy Simons 143

10 Children's texts and the grown-up reader U. C. Knoepflmacher 159

11 Ideas of difference in children's literature Lynne Vallone 174

Part III Forms and Themes

12 Changing families in children's fiction Kimberley Reynolds 193

13 Traditions of the school story Mavis Reimer 209

14 Fantasy's alternative geography for children Andrea Immel U. C. Knoepflmacher Julia Briggs 226

15 Animal and object stories David Rudd 242

16 Humour and the body in children's literature Roderick McGillis 258

Further reading 272

Index 279

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