Yes, I'm really up at 6 AM on a Saturday morning...oh sweet insomnia. Luckily, this morning's edition of The Washington Post has a few interesting articles about children's books.
"Twice Told Tales Plus a Few That Are Refreshingly New"
Carolyn Hax discusses a few new children's books that are very similar to some classics. For example, Gillian Shields and Gary Blythe's The Perfect Bear closely mirrors the idea behind The Velveteen Rabbit. I especially like her commentary on Laura and Jenna's new picture book. Kids love nothing more than forced enthusiasm. Finally, I have to get my hands on Lucky Monkey, Unlucky Monkey.
"Picture Books Celebrate the Fleet of Foot"
Speaking of re-imagined classics, check out Abby McGanney Nolan's review of Christopher Meyers' take on Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky." The original text stays the same, but the illustrations put us on a basketball court--I know a few boys who would LOVE this book.
Nolan also reviews a couple of other books that honor fancy foot movement, Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire, and At Gleason's Gym, a book about the gym where Muhammed Ali and many many other boxers trained.
"From Wild Things to Happy Readers"
Finally, Michael Sims reviews two books written about children's books. First Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer gives a comprehensive history of children's literature from works created in ancient Greece and Rome to Harry Potter. I'm especially interested in reading his commentary on the representations of femininity in books for young girls throughout history.
Next, Sims discusses Leonard S. Marcus' Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature, a book that discusses the history of children's literature in the United States. This looks like very interesting commentary on how books for American children have evolved throughout the nation's history.