children's books

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Every [classic of children's literature] ... has the same reassuring pattern of 'home, away, home,' " [San Diego State University English professor Alida Allison] says. "The basic plot begins with a happy family situation. Then one extremely curious or transgressive child goes out on his or her own. And, no matter how 'bad' the child has been, he gets to come back home.

So, many of the classics of children's literature are bastardizations of the parable of the prodigal son? Because whereas the prodigal son was prepared to beg his father for mercy, that's not necessarily the case with these protagonists.

One of my college professors told the class that he once forbid his very young daughter from seeing the musical Annie, because in it, Daddy Warbucks spent his way out of every problem instead of taking responsibility. That's not the sort of lesson my professor wanted his daughter to absorb.

So I wonder what kind of a lessons are children's literature "classics" teaching children--that their actions, however vicious and perverse, will be absolved regardless?

Anyway, here's more on children's lit.