Thursday, April 21, 2011

Children's books take the cake!

A few weeks ago, a food representation  of The Very Hungry Caterpillar took the prize for "Most Creative" at the Denison Library's annual Books2Eat Festival, and a cake replica of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows won "Best of Show." Congratulations to these winners and the others who participated in the festival! For more pictures of the other delicious treats in the festival, look here!

Discovering Dahl

One of the most comprehensive Dahl sites I've found, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre contains a wealth of information about Dahl and his work, as well as lots of fun and games. Explore Dahl's Writing Hut or the online Dahl archive. Just for fun (or if you happen to be jetting off to the UK any time soon), check out the food selection at Cafe Twit, where they serve Fizzy Lifting Drinks,  BFG cookies, snozzberry yogurt, Miss Honey's scones, and even "SandWitches" and a Bogtrotter Cake.

For All of Your Happily Ever Afters...

Last fall, Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons added a blog to their site, the appropriately titled Ever-After Blog. With features such as "Wedding Cake Wednesday" (check out the scrumptious Wall-E wedding cake or this cute Scrabble cake), the blog showcases the countless ways the Disney Weddings team can make your fairy tale wedding come true. If you want a wedding fit for a princess, the blog has plenty of ideas Disney brides and grooms can replicate, from a Rapunzel-inspired dress and  Cinderella Platinum Anniversary Gown to a Tangled-themed wedding. "Real Weddings" features couples who have been engaged or married at Disney (or whose engagements and marriages were Disney-related, like this adorable proposal based on Up), as well as couples who renew their vows or celebrate major anniversaries at Disney, like this couple commemorating their 50th anniversary.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss

This new 72 page book will be out September 27, 2011. It will feature 7 lost stories: "The Bippolo Seed", "The Rabbit, The Bear, The Zinniga Zanniga," "Gustav the Goldfish," "Tadd and Todd," "Steak for Supper," "The Strange Shirt Spot," and "The Great Henry McBride."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Teaching to the Test

I've been noticing flyers in Knapp recently that are "Brought to you by: Teachers Against Testing Campaign March/April 2011." They each have facts about standardized testing as it relates to funding for education, and have links to websites where more information can be found.  Teachers Against Testing actually has a facebook page and a few links to other websites that express concern over the effects that "teaching to the test" will have on education in this country.  I'll put a few of the links below on this page so anyone can look at them- they are pretty interesting and align with a lot of the opinions expressed in class last week about the negative implications of funding according to standardized testing.  They're also definitely informative about the specifics of how No Child Left Behind operates.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Caterpillars, Binge Eating, and the Anti-Obesity Campaign

Earlier this week, on the first day of spring, thousands of pediatricians' offices received free copies of Eric Carle's classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. These books will be accompanied by growing charts and reading guides to help foster discussion with children about healthy eating habits and fight the childhood obesity epidemic. See what Bill Clinton and Eric Carle have to say about this new campaign. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poems Poems Poems!

The Academy of American Poets has a wonderful website,, that I often go to if I'm looking for a group of poems about a specific theme. It's super-easy to navigate:

So there you go - lots of poems about shoes, aliens, shark week. Also, as you can see, there's a "For Teens" page of poems. Under "Life and Leisure," there's a "childhood" page of poems, and under "Family and People," there are poem pages for "parenting," "daughters," and "sons."

Even BETTER, at least for our investigative purposes, is the Poetry Foundation's website, which has a similar categories function, which they call the "Poetry Tool."

(I made the blue circles)
As you can see, there is a whole section roped off for "Children's."

There are tons of great nooks and crannies on both of these organization's websites - for example, I stumbled upon "Ten Poems to Get You Through Science Class," which I would have loooved to use as a resource while I was growing up. If our lockers were any bigger, I probably would have also appreciated "Ten Poems to Read When You Get Stuffed in a Locker."

Anyway, have fun with these websites!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A bit of pandering to His Excellency....

23rd Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists were recently announced. Lambda Literary is "The leader in LGBT book reviews, author interviews, opinion and news since 1989."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anybody interested in YA writing and publishing?

Check out this new initiative, by authors Nina LaCour and Kristen Tracy, called Write Teen. From their "about" page:
Once, we were teenagers. Now, we’re both published writers and committed teachers who’ve decided to share what we know about writing and publishing young adult novels. Over a series of ten lectures we will study how to craft a marketable teen novel and offer practical advice on how to present your finished work to agents and editors who are actively acquiring manuscripts. Take one class, take all, take those that offer you the insights you need. In addition to sharing our own strategies for writing and revision, we will study critically and commercially successful teen novels and discuss the structural, artistic, and thematic elements that allow these works to resonate with such a wide audience. Between us, we have sold eleven novels to Simon & Schuster, Random House, Disney-Hyperion, and Penguin. We also have over twenty years of combined teaching experience. Wherever you are in your writing life, we look forward to meeting you and guiding you toward your finished story.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are you all sitting comfortably?

Maybe we should try some improvisational storytelling on Wednesday!

Annie Leibowits' Disney Dreams

Check out these fabulous photos by the great Annie L! Here's Julianne Moore as the Little Mermaid:

And Queen Latifah as Ursula:

Rachel Weisz as Snow White:

Who else but Dame Julie Andrews as Pinocchio's Blue Fairy?

And Scarlet Johanssen as That Gal With The Slipper:

And Tiny Fey as a bedraggled Tink:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Diving into archives...

I might have written about Project Gutenberg in an earlier post, but it's one of my favorite things, so it's worth re-mentioning. It'll be a really great resource for everyone's final projects, especially if you'll be writing about book culture or if you'll be doing some sort of historical project. Here are some example titles:

Types Of Children's Literature: A Collection Of The World's Best Literature For Children (For use in colleges, normal schools and library schools) Collected and edited by Walter Barnes, A.M. (1920)

Children’s Stories in American Literature, 1660-1860 By Henrietta Christian Wright. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons (1909).

Children's Books and Their Illustrators Author: Gleeson White (1897)

The Children's Story Of The War. Vol IV. The Story of the Year 1915
By Sir Edward Parrott, M.A., Ll.D. (1916)

Children's Hour With Red Riding Hood And Other Stories
Edited by Watty Piper (1922)

Other sites that include thousands of free titles in HTML and .pdf formats include,, and

UPDATE 3/25/11: ok, so apparently there is a whole "children's bookshelf" on Gutenberg.

Another tumblr scour!

I thought I'd search tumblr for more children's lit/children's book items..... click any of the following if you're interested in...

Matilda or e-books old timey gender construction the very hungry caterpillar "post-colonial steampunk children's literature" Dr. Seuss and/or political writing Dune the wisdom of Tolkien or Milne writing and publishing general silliness/Shel Silverstein


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy 107th, Dr. Seuss!

The poet who  introduced us to the Lorax forests, green eggs and ham, and Whoville would celebrate his 107th birthday today.  Read Across America Day purposely coincides with Seuss's birthday because, as they say in Seussville, "what better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday than reading to a child?" Check out how children and adults alike are celebrating this special day!

"You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."

Remembering Janet Schulman

You may, like I did, guess that Janet Schulman was a kindly, soft-spoken, perhaps grandmotherly women who loved children's books enough to compile the treasury we are currently using in our class. If you assume this, as I did, you would be wrong. She certainly had a passion for the children's literature industry, but she had so much more than that. Schulman was a spunky, candid, no-nonsense children's book editor who interrogated gender norms and was once fired for "having the audacity" to question why a female executive made less than a male secretary. Schulman, who recently passed away, will be remembered  by colleagues, friends, and family for her uniqueness, her frankness, and for inspiring those around her not to settle for mediocrity. The article is well worth a read, but to get the gist of her spunkiness, here's what one colleague says about her:

She was at a business gathering there when “X,” a high-ranking (male) executive, said to her, “Tell me, Janet, when are you going to stop dressing like a man?” To which she replied, “As soon as they start paying me like one.”

What's Wrong With Cinderella?

Peggy Orenstein goes beyond wicked stepmothers, fairy godmothers, and glass slippers to examine the cultural impact of Cinderella and the pink-saturated princess culture that Disney (and other corporations) has helped create and fuel. This New York Times article is the basis for her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, mentioned in an earlier post.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cinderella & Culture

Cinderella is more than just a fairy tale. According to Wikipedia,

"The word "cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes are unrecognised, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of "Cinderella" continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media."

And, according to our friend Wikipedia, these cinderella tropes and themes have also had an influence within the field of psychology:

"The Cinderella complex was first described by Colette Dowling,[1] who wrote a book on women's fear of independence, as an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others, based primarily on a fear of being independent. The complex is said to become more apparent as a person grows older.

Colette Dowling attempts to define women as being motivated by an unconscious desire to be taken care of as a fear of independence termed "Cinderella complex". An important aspect of the work can be defined as identifying an aspect of a larger phenomenon as to why women choose to stay in dysfunctional relationships."


"The Cinderella effect is a term used by psychologists to describe the high incidence of stepchildren being physically abused, emotionally abused, sexually abused, neglected or murdered, or otherwise mistreated at the hands of their stepparents at significantly higher rates than their genetic counterparts. It takes its name from the fairy tale character Cinderella, who in the story was cruelly mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters.The effect has been called "one of the poster-children of evolutionary psychology".[1]

South Park 'n' Mickey Mouse

Below is the South Park Studios description for the episode...

South Park: The Ring --- Original Air Date: 03.11.2009

Thinking it's his way into her heart and other body parts, Kenny takes his new girlfriend to a Jonas Brothers concert. His dream of taking their relationship to the next level is crushed when the Jonas Brothers give them purity rings.

Tags: Jonas Brothers, Kenny, girlfriend, Tammy Warner, concert, purity ring, Mr. Mouse, sex, Cartman, Butters, Stan, Kyle, B.J.

watch it at South Park Studios here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On publishing, and disney, and rejections, and more...

What we have here is something that will be of great interest to Tim Burton fans.
I also suggest that you peruse the comments, because internet arguments are teh funnehs.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived

Yes, Prince Charming really is listed at #20 and Cinderella is #26.

Here are a few others that relate to our class:

Mickey Mouse #18
The Little Engine That Could #31
Alice in Wonderland #34
Bambi #41
Barbie #43
Hansel & Gretel #52
Ugly Duckling #55
Nancy Drew #62
Cat in the Hat #79

I'm very surprised that Harry Potter isn't included in this list. I'm also puzzled as to how The Marlboro Man claimed the #1 spot...

Monday, February 21, 2011


Here are some select, magical images to enjoy. First, here's an illustration by my all-time favorite 19th-century artist, Arthur Rackham (he did lots of Lewis Carroll):

Now here's part of the ASTONISHING mosaic inside Cinderella's castle at Disney World:

And a scene from Prokofiev's ballet "Cinderella," as performed by the Bolshoi:

Here's the main room of the suite in Cinderella's Castle at WDW:

And of course, where else would a princess go to the potty? (The bathroom in the castle.)

Finally, there's this option for a luxury bed for the little princess in your life....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Monsterpomorphism? Elmopomorphism?

Echoing the clothes-on-animals-only-sometimes discussions we've been having: at :35 in this video, Elmo explains all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'm Glad I'm a Boy!

Here is a real catch. Denison owns a copy, which is safely stored in Special Collections (on the 7th tier) or it would have gone missing some time ago. It's a triumph of gender identification. Go look at it!

Coloring books!

Back to age appropriateness and adaptation: Genderific Coloring Books

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Fun!

I went home this weekend and wanted to bring back one of my favorite Valentine's Day books, Jack Prelutsky's collection of poems, It's Valentine's Day, featuring poems such as "I Made My Dog a Valentine" and "Jelly Jill Loves Weasel Will." Unfortunately, never knowing that I'd one day want to revisit story, I must've given the book away (and hopefully some lucky child is reading it right now!).  I've posted one of my favorites, "I Love You More Than Applesauce," below in honor of Cupid's birthday. And let's never forget what Dr. Seuss said about love: "We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." Happy Valentine's!

I love you more than applesauce,
Than peaches and a plum,
Than chocolate hearts,
And cherry tarts,
And berry bubble-gum.

I love you more than lemonade,
And seven-layer cake,
Than lollipops,
And candy drops,
And thick vanilla shake.

I love you more than marzipan,
Than marmalade on toast;
For I love pies
Of any size,
But I love you the most.

[Courtesy of

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Write the Obit For Picture Books Yet

Last fall, the New York Times published an article declaring the death of picture books, their popularity, and their overall importance. Publisher's Weekly responds with this, providing perspectives from librarians, children's book publishing companies, and professors who disagree with the Times' contentious claims.

A Blizzard of Books

Looking for a children's book to snuggle up with on a snowy day? Check out USAToday's recommendations and get cozy with these winter delights!

written BY children

826 is a national non-profit that's dedicated to helping kids with writing, both creative and expository. They've highlighted some pieces on their website:
(from the LA chapter)
(chicago chapter)
(valencia chapter)
(boston chapter)

happy reading!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Race, Geography, Representation

This here is a fabulous TED talk -- Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story.
I found it in my bookmark bar - where did it come from? We may never know. But I think the first three minutes really relate to our class!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Lorax Project!

 In light of this week's reading and the other Seuss-related posts, I thought I'd post a link to The Lorax Project, an organization whose goal is to preserve real-life Lorax forests and protect the lives of real-life Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee-Swans, and Humming-Fish. Enjoy!

Seuss Snow Day Surprise!

I always get a weird look whenever I tell people that Dr. Seuss is my favorite painter - but his little known "fine art" is really, really fantastic! Check out his "Secret Art" collection, read some background on his non-illustrative art, and check out this nifty window into The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, which has a foreword by Maurice Sendak.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Lorax and the Truax

Howdy, all!

Here's a link to a .pdf copy of The Truax, a children's book written by one Terri Birkett as a response to The Lorax:

It's very much in the "score-to-settle" vein, but is worth a read as part of the range of responses to Seuss.

Tally ho,
Fred P.

conan's terrifying lullabies

when conan was still on 'late night' (ah, the good old days), he used to do a bit (well maybe he still does?) where he would sing really gentle lullabies - about absolutely horrible things, part of which he would show on video (after singing "now turn baby, away from, the tv screen, away from, the tv screen"), like bear maulings and plane crashes.

since the conan/leno/nbc thing, it's really hard to find any clips of it (it was pretty hard before, even), but here is *possibly* the worst youtube video ever made. it chronicles one baby's experience with the song.

oh - the connection. well, i thought of this when we were talking about parents reading to very little babies, when they can't even tell what is being said. that's the idea behind the conan thing - it's all in the tone of voice. you could sing it the unabomber's manifesto.
anyway, enjoy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

NYT Book Review: Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Check out a review of Peggy Orenstein's book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Orenstein, a mother seeking to navigate the pink fluffy marketing targeted at young girls of her daughter's age, explores "the princess" phase, a stage during which young girls often turn to glittery princess paraphernalia as a way to assert their female identity. Through field trips to toy fairs and stores, child beauty pageants, and, yes, a Miley Cyrus concert, Orenstein wrestles with this princess culture as a parent, debating its pros and cons. Definitely worth checking out (the review and the actual book) if you're interested in fairy tales and pop culture!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Children's Best-seller list on Regis and Kelly

A few minutes ago Kelly Ripa showed off a copy of "It's a Book" by Lane Smith (for beginning readers, published by Roaring Brook Press in 2010). She had mentioned it first several months ago, and has now received a copy from the author telling her that the book is now on the NYT Children's Best-seller List! "How timely!" I observed to the invisible sprites around me. And then Kelly got a cheer from the audience by saying "Let's take it to number one!" So we'll all watch, shall we?

If you search for the book on Amazon, you'll find the info about the book--it's only 32 pages long, and you'll see the sly premise.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Linking back to this morning

This is an accessible but well-written (and supa-short!) online essay which discusses the "Victorianization" (or whatever) of fairy tales - which is what I feebly tried to express today near the end of class. Although the title and conclusion of this essay are geared toward choosing Christmas gifts, the bulk of it is concerned with history, revision, and adaptation, and it takes the Little Red Riding Hood tale as its example.

Also, Spongebob.

Denison Alum Writes Children's Book About Vegetarianism

Denison alum Nathalie VanBalen '09 recently published a children's book titled Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice, which explores the vegetarian lifestyle, something that few children's books have done. VanBalen controlled all elements of the publishing process, from the art design to the marketing and publishing. Congrats, Nathalie!

Find out more here:

Favorite Books Recap

Thanks to everyone who shared their memories of their favorite book as a child in class today! Just a quick recap of the books that were mentioned and why:

Several students pointed to a book's use of humor, parody, and/or originality as reasons that made their favorite children's books so memorable, books like Dumb Bunnies and The Paper Bag Princess. Others talked about  the personal relationships they shared with the physical book itself (that book that you just can't put down, like Holes and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) or with others, especially family members, who were also part of the childhood reading experience in some way (Anne of Green Gables, the Just So Stories. Some students reflected upon the themes that made a book a favorite--the enticing world where it rains ice cream in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, for example--and still others reminisced about the impact of the pictures in stories, like the metallic fish scales on the cover of Rainbow Fish.

Children's books make powerful impressions on us for a variety of reasons, and we invite you to share with us your own favorite books as a child and what made them so memorable.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ALA | ALA Press Releases

Check out this year's award-winning children's and young adult books selected by the American Library Association!

ALA | ALA Press Releases

Link clusters: adaptation, challenged books

Alright, I just decided to dump all the mildly relevant things from my tumblr blog into one post -

adaptation-related things:
sesame street fans? anybody like elmo?
Dr. Seuss "does" Star Wars
Nerdalicious LOTR chart
youtube: star wars according to a three year old.

"bad"/banned books things:
ALA: Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009
ALA: The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000
Wikipedia: List of most-commonly challenged books in the United States
and, along those lines,

90-Second Newbery

Hey all - check out the New York Public Library's new 90-Second Newbery Video Contest! (here)

And so it begins!


If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

--Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Welcome to the class blog of English 310, Children’s Literature! As this semester is the first time Denison has offered a course on children’s literature, this blog will be a space for members of this class to chronicle our exploration, to share resources, and to continue our conversation of children’s literature outside of the classroom. Whether you are a student in the course or someone who has stumbled upon this blog by accident, we invite you to “come in! come in!”