Showing posts from March, 2008

Food in Children's Science Trade Books

Previously, I mentioned that there were some problems even with well-reviewed books for children on food. Here are some examples.... Apples and How They Grow by Laura Driscoll, illus. Tammy Smith (All Aboard Science Reader, Level 1) [BCCB-Ad, 2003] On p. 31, the apple is picked as if in an orchard, and eaten by the person who picks it. Lacking is any mention of typical food transport. The Pumpkin Patch by Elizabeth King [BCCB-R, 1990] This also lacks transport information, but reasonably so; the book is the story of visiting a pumpkin patch in the fall. Mechanized farming is clearly in evidence in the early pages of the book, which is a major plus. Pumpkins by Ken Robbins [BCCB-R, 2006] Aesthetically, Robbins' books are very sleek and pleasing. Informationally, they make all the standard omissions. No pesticides, migrant workers, or transport are shown in the making of these pumpkins. Apples by Ken Robbins [BCCB-R, 2002] Again gorgeous pictures, some of which borrow the white

Apples and Oranges

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman This picture book, with endpapers that show a map of the world, details exactly what level of continental hopping would be required to get all the ingredients for an apple pie if we had to do the traveling ourselves each time we wanted to bake one. It's an eye-opening tour of food origins for the young, and stands out among many books on food production for children that elide or obscure what really goes on. As I've said before, to read children's nonfiction on food, you might think it was all organic, local, and paid good wages to harvesters. An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston, illus. by Julie Maren Another rarity in that this book tells the true, if rosy, story of how oranges comes to be available in January, including all the transportation necessary to make it so. The orange does, unfortunately, seem to come from a mythical land of goodness and sunshine. No mention is made of the harvesting lab

Narrative across media, narrative within folklore

Eight Words for the Study of Expressive Culture by Feintuch (ed.) The words are: group, art, text, genre, performance, context, tradition, and identity. Of the eight essays, those on Group and Genre seemed most compelling. Group (by Dorothy Noyes) gets into the complexities of defining who is in and out of a group, using the example of an Italian street festival in Philadelphia. Genre (by Rudier Harris-Lopez) touches on the emergence of folk texts in new media and therefore overlaps with my wishes to investigate digital storytelling. It would be good to read with one or both of the below chapters. Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling by Ryan (ed.) This is based in literary theory, but has 2 essays of use to thinking about new forms of fantasy media. They're back-to-back in the book, and read very well together. "Will New Media Produce New Narratives?" by Marie-Laure Ryan offers a typology of narratives in various kinds of media, trying to establis

Napoli, Reeve, Eddy, and Cohen

Jacalyn Eddy, Bookwomen Since I'll be referring to this book for years to come, I'll just note a few most useful and surprising highlights. --"To accept the traditional narrative that women were merely forced into unwanted careers, however, simplifies a complex phenomenon." (p. 6) --Gives good overview of first publishing houses to have children's imprints, starting with MacMillan and Doubleday (p. 131) --Eddy's arguments about the child guidance movement echo Ehrenreich's arguments about "experts" and the masculinization of women's traditional realms of knowledge. (p. 110-111) Donna Jo Napoli, The Prince of the Pond Napoli retells the frog prince from the view of a young female frog with whom the frog prince has a family before his eventual transformation back into a human. Napoli is always good at getting to the bones of the tales she retells. The opening has remarkable resemblances to some of the dialogue between Robin and Kermit in He

Fantasy and fantasy graphic novel test-drives

I'm playing around with what I'll teach in fall, which now has changed to include the fantasy class (590VV) on-campus and the youth services class (506LE) via LEEP. Just thought some of you might want to know that I'll have a section of 506. I'm thinking about writing a paper that will draw on the 590VV class, looking at the major awards and what recent trends (Harry Potter etc.) and tensions (religious objections) as well as new awards (Printz) have done to the "population" of fantasy books that inhabit that select and magical land of Newbery winners. It would also be great to explore how fantasy as a genre is specializing even further into sub-genres in light of the "long tail" phenomenon, or technological changes in the ability to profit from making small numbers of many distinct things available to small number of customers. The idea comes from: and author Anderson's main argument centers