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A paper presented at the Modern Language Association Conference, Washington, D.C., December, 1996.

Perry Nodelman

Department of English

University of Winnipeg

WINNIPEG MB R3B 2E9

The Durability of Innocence:

The Endless Childhood of Children’s Literature Criticism

In the process of writing a review of a book about children’s literature recently,

I began to develop the uncomfortable feeling that the words I was producing seemed

familiar. After some thought, I located the source of the feeling--another review I’d

written of a different book about children’s literature, many years earlier. Startled by

this discovery, I began browsing through other reviews I’ve done over the past two

decades--and began to realize how very often I’ve criticized the same features in

different work, and noted the same absences from it.

This might mean simply that, when it comes to thinking about children literature,

at least, I’m a obsessive zealot with a narrowly limited range of very fixed ideas--

ideas I so rigidly stick to and harp on that there’s no room for anything else.

Alternately, and as I prefer to believe, it might mean that, for all the advances made
in our field in the last twenty years, children’s literature criticism has changed

surprisingly little. In what follows, I’d like to point out some of the themes I’ve

returned to again and again in my reviews and to consider the implications of their

continuing presence.

1: Exclusion:

Innocence (or Ignorance?) of Children’s Literature

Back in 1969, when the volume later reprinted as the first issue of the journal

Children’s Literature appeared, it was called The Great Excluded: Critical Essays on

Children’s Literature. The very first sentence of the editor’s preface to the volume,

maybe the first sentence ever published in the context of serious literary criticism of

texts written for children, explained the title: “Up to now, children’s literature has

been ignored by most humanists and many critics” (7.) By 1984, more than a

decade later, there were a number of important journals of children’s literature

criticism and a growing body of research; but I was still able to write, of a critical

book by Richard Kuhn subtitled “The Child in Western Literature,” “. . . it seems that

children’s literature is not part of the ‘Western Literature’ of the subtitle, for the only

children’s writer even mentioned is Lewis Carroll--and that’s a reference to his

perverse attitudes to real children rather than to the children in his books” ( 98).

Even more depressing: it was a memory of this sentence that sparked my interest in
the topic of this paper. I’m currently in the process of reviewing Virginia L. Blum’s

Hide and Seek: The Child Between Psychoanalysis and Fiction, published in 1995,

which purports to talk about “fictions of the child in both literary and psychoanalytic

accounts” without once referring to a text written for children.

Kuhn and Blum both exclude children’s literature for the same reason: they are

interested, not in how adults represent childhood for children, but only in what uses

adults make of the idea of childhood for themselves as adults. Both point out how

intellectual constructs of childhood allow adults to ignore the realities actually

experienced by young human beings, and their own ignoring (or ignorance?) of

children’s literature confirms the justice of their arguments. Children as real or

implied readers of texts simply don’t interest them.

They also don’t interest Jonathan Cott, whose Pipers at the Gates of Dawn

describes how adults can derive great wisdom and healing from the reading of

children’s books. In my 1985 review, I explored the ugly implications of Cott’s view

that children’s literature, in my words, “isn’t really for children’s at all but actually

secret pop-Zen for fuzzy-minded grownups” (206) and expressed my dismay that

Cott’s book, supported by a Guggenheim fellowship, published by a major trade

publisher, and widely reviewed in prestigious mainstream journals, “seems to

represent the only sort of attitude towards children’s literature that gets respect in the

corridors of literary power.”


Kuhn and Buss exclude children’s literature. Cott excludes child readers. But

the most peculiar exclusion I’ve encountered as a reviewer is Jacqueline Rose’s. I

found Rose’s thesis--that “children’s literature is an enterprise of much greater

significance for adults than for children” (98)--persuasive; she was showing how

others excluded children, not excluding them herself. But I expressed some concern

that Rose was prepared to reach conclusions about children’s fiction on the basis of

critics’ and writers’ writing about it:

Far too many writers and critics want children’s fiction to represent all that is

true and good in both life and literature, as opposed to the supposed sickness

and decadence and chaos of contemporary life and of all other modern fiction.

The trouble with Rose’s argument is that she actually believes these ridiculous

comments that writers and critics make about children’s books. In doing so,

she misses most of what is interesting about children’s fiction . . . . she accepts

Alan Garner’s comments on his work as the whole truth about it, and ignores

the books he actually wrote.” (99)

Rose apparently felt she could safely discuss children’s fiction without actually

spending much time reading any of it. Her book about children’s fiction almost

completely excludes the fiction itself.

Presumably, one excludes what one excludes on the basis that there is nothing

of value or interest to know about it. In consciously or unconsciously assuming that


their various lapses or absences or exclusions were justified, these writers replicate

the very behaviour that all of them write about and most of them condemn--that adults

use constructs of childhood in ways that allow them to indulge themselves and to

ignore and remain innocent about the realities of childhood.

2. Extreme Inclusion: Innocence (or Ignorance?)

Of Distinguishing Characteristics of Children’s Literature

Exclusion allows innocence--but so might inclusion. In a related thread of

commentary, I’ve focused on justifications critics provide for ignoring the qualities that

distinguish texts written for children from other forms of literature. In discussing

books about fantasy by Eric Rabkin and Diana Waggoner in 1980, I say, “They both

deal with the subject of fantasy in general and include discussion of some children's

novels, and they both become unconvincing when they refuse to distinguish between

children's novels that happen to be fantasies and other fantasies” (185). I go on to

make my own claim about children's fiction: “Much of it is fantasy, and much of it

isn't; but all of it is clearly different from adult fiction. Neither Rabkin or Waggoner is

interested in that difference, and neither has much of value to say about children's

fiction” (187). In the same review I discuss Roger Sale’s Fairy Tales and After:

. . . he refuses to admit that he has chosen specific books [to discuss] for any

reason other than his admiration of them or that his discussions of different
books have anything to do with each other. And he studiously avoids noticing

the implications of these discussions in terms of a deeper understanding of the

special qualities of children’s fiction . . . .The cliché is that a good children’s

novel is a good novel, period. That appears to claim too much for children’s

fiction, but it actually claims too little--like saying a good tragedy is a good

play, period . . . . Only by coming to terms with what is special about

children’s fiction can we come to understand its special power over us.”(189,

190)

Almost a decade later, I make a similar comment on the essays in Moynihan and

Shaner’s Masterworks of Children’s Literature, volume 8:

. . . Moynihan insists that the best children’s books are the ones that adults can

also admire, presumably on the same grounds that we admire adult books--and

those grounds inevitably force us to characterize theoretically realistic books

such as Hamilton’s M.C. Higgins or Garner’s Stone Book or Vogel’s My

Summer Brother as unsuccessful, by making these books seem too

uncomplicated to be considered as persuasively realistic . . . .This refusal to

judge children’s books in terms that preserve high standards for literary

excellence but nevertheless acknowledge the inherent differences between

children’s and adult literature mars almost all the essays in the book. (149)
This year, almost another whole decade later, in an as yet unpublished review of

Maria Nikolajeva’s Children’s Literature Comes of Age, I reiterate the same

complaint yet once more:

She wants to honour children’s literature and justify its study by turning it inside

out and upside down--by celebrating that which is evolved and of age and

unchildlike in it. My first response to all this is suspicion. If children’s books

get better the more they become like texts written for adults--i.e., the less they

fulfill our usual sense of what makes a text children’s literature--then I wonder

why children’s literature needs to exist at all. Why should it, if the best texts

for children are the ones most like texts written for adults? As an adult who

enjoys reading children’s literature and thinking about it, and who believes that

children ought to enjoy reading it and thinking about it too, I have a great deal

invested in the intuitive conviction, not only that children’s books are different

from adult books, but also, that it’s the differences that make children’s books

so interesting to read and to think about.

The insistence that good children’s books are just like good adult books represents a

determined effort to remain innocent of ways in which children’s books might be

shaped into distinctive patterns by adult assumptions about child readers--presumably

because, from this child-resistant or even child-hating point of view, acknowledgement

of such differences would inevitably mean that children’s books are less worthy of
attention. It is merely another version of the arrogant assumption that childhood and

anything which might relate specifically to it can be or should be ignored or

marginalised.

3. Innocence (or Ignorance?) of Children’s Literature Criticism

Writers like Cott and Rose represent another persistent phenomenon of

children’s literature criticism: people with backgrounds in other disciplines or areas of

expertise feel no compunction about writing it. Newcomers to the field often seem to

be working on the assumption that they are pioneers, that they have personally

discovered the idea that children’s literature might be considered from a theoretical

or analytical point of view, that no previous criticism of any standing or value could

possibly exist. In the years in which I edited the Children’s Literature Association

Quarterly, I often found myself reading submissions about Charlotte’s Web or Peter

Rabbit by professors of American literature or Renaissance drama blithely

unconscious of the fact that other serious scholars had come before them. They knew

that the journal existed, and therefore that a field of study existed--so I have to

assume they simply took it for granted that people in the field must be too childishly

feebleminded to actually be doing any serious thinking about their subject.


Scholars within the field are afflicted by similar assumptions. In 1986, I wrote

about the central questions Zohar Shavit discusses in her Poetics of Children’s

Literature:

These are all good questions. Unfortunately, Shavit believes that nobody

before her has ever bothered to ask them . . . . anyone who reads the

Quarterly and other journals devoted to children’s literature knows that is

simply not true. In the last decade, many scholars have been examining

exactly the questions that Shavit says have been ignored . . . . Shavit seems to

be unconscious of most of this work; and that is a pity, for knowledge of it

might have helped her to find a way past some of the glaring deficiencies of

her own answers to the important questions she asks.” (162)

An entire decade later, sadly, I find myself asserting that Karin Lesnik-Oberstein has

made exactly the same complaint about the limitations of existing criticism, and

making exactly the same response to it:

. . . Lesnik-Oberstein is convinced that children’s literature criticism as a whole

is a wrongheaded and counter-productive endeavour. When she finally says,

“it is possible to reject children’s fiction criticism as it stands” (164), she means

all of it, bar none . . . . In order for readers to accept this conclusion, they’d

have to be convinced that the fairly short list of critics Lesnik-Oberstein actually
manages to quote or refer to do indeed represent children’s literature criticism

as a whole. They don’t. (43)

My review of Lesnik-Oberstein hints that, unlike Shavit, she might have been, not

simply ignorant of the work of other critics, but just ignoring it. She lists Shavit, for

instance, in her bibliography, but never actually discusses Shavit’s work (which might

well challenge her general summation of the characteristics of criticism); and what she

does write often sounds suspiciously like work done earlier, by me personally and by

other critics unnamed in her book. C.S. Lewis once famously suggested that

children’s literature is a kind of writing people do when they want to leave things out;

Lesnik-Oberstein’s criticism of children’s literature criticism intriguingly replicates this

pattern. It leaves out names of important sources.

So, too, does Peter Hunt’s. In a 1992 review, I said:

One of the central idiosyncrasies of this book about theory is Hunt’s assertion

that he has deliberately not named many of the theorists whose work he

discusses . . . . Hunt’s refusal to name names is another way of ignoring

significant differences, another way of bending the theories he discusses to

make them fit into the invisible jackboots of his own liberal humanist

mythology. (38)

In 1994, I made a similar comment about the collections of criticism of children’s

literature edited by Hunt:


. . . this project is very much a representation of the specific individual values

and perceptions of one Peter Hunt. In choosing the excerpts that he has, and

in providing the contexts that he does, Hunt retains perfect control over the

proceedings. It’s very much Hunt’s show, and he’s very much in control. (

192)

I go on in this review to offer a long list of excluded but important names, just as I did

in my reviews of Shavit and Lesnik-Oberstein.

Of course, reviewers of scholarship in other fields often accuse writers both of

ignorance about work of potential importance to their own pursuits and even of

ignoring work they surely must know that might challenge their own theories. But the

repetitiveness of my complaints suggests some peculiar fatal tendency for critics of

children’s literature to indulge in such activities. It may mean merely that the field is

still too young to have firmly established means of circulating information about new

research--that ignorance of other work is all too possible and even still mildly

respectable. But I suspect there’s something about children’s literature itself that

causes those who choose to write about it to replicate its qualities.

It is a literature that tends to view things from the viewpoint of innocence--as

children theoretically see them. Un-innocent adults who find themselves attracted to it

as a field of interest might well tend to be people who enjoy imaginatively

experiencing the freedom of an innocence they themselves no longer possess. They


might even, as Cott does, see a deliberate refusal to acknowledge the validity of what

one knows beyond innocence as wisdom. People with that bias might well tend to

feel it wise, or at least acceptable, to ignore knowledge they actually do have that

might conflict with their satisfyingly totalizing constructs both of children literature and

of its criticism.

4. Innocence (or Ignorance?) of Oneself

At any rate, it’s certainly true that I’ve accused much of the criticism I’ve

reviewed of revealing a kind of subjective bias and blindness that might well be

equated with conventional definitions of childlike egocentricity--a kind of innocent lack

of perception of the subjectivity of one’s own perceptions. Very early on, in 1979, I

say that “the value of [Diana] Waggoner's bibliography [of fantasy literature] is

limited because it represents, not ‘all of fantasy’ [as she claims], but her own critical

prejudices. The result is not a guide but a canon” (7). Later, I say that “Shavit’s

potentially rewarding semiological investigations founder on the shallowness of her

understanding of history and of her readings of children’s books. Paradoxically, the

shallowness merges from her blindness to her own semiological assumptions; her

failure to perceive her own unconscious attitudes” (179-80). I also say, “Her

conviction that people before the seventeenth century had no idea of childhood is

merely a blindness to the possibility of any idea of childhood but her own; she
blandly accepts ‘the increasing awareness of adults of differences between

themselves and children’ [38] without considering that this ‘awareness’--or faith?--may

also emerge from cultural assumptions” (163).

Still later, I accuse Hunt of the same ideological blindness, which:

leads him to affirm as liberating a conception of self-producing and self-

sufficient individuality of the sort that privileges the values of liberal, humanist,

middle class intellectuals like himself (and, I blush to admit it, like me)--a

conception that does, I am convinced, work to imprison children in the

repressions and blindnesses of the contemporary Western middle-class culture

that Hunt and I share. Hunt complains that [Terry] Eagleton’s analysis

“suggests that all loving and caring teachers, doing their best to educate their

and to pass on the best and purest of values, are in fact a bunch of jackbooted

fascists” (147); perhaps he needs to take a more careful look down at his own

feet. (38)

5. Celebration of One’s Innocence (and Ignorance)

Often, critics don’t merely express a childlike innocence- -they actually

acknowledge and celebrate the fact that they’re doing it. Lack of the sophistication of

adult logic turns out to be a good thing.


In a 1984 review of three collections of articles, many of them by children’s

writers, I describe a series of insistences that serious analysis of literature for children

would be destructive:

In The Openhearted Audience, Pamela Travers says that the qualities of good

writing “can’t be described,” and Ivan Southall says they are “almost

impossible to define”; and in Celebrating Children’s Books, Robert Cormier

says, “Too much theorizing worries me,” and Susan Cooper asks, “How can

we define what we are doing? How can a fish describe what it is like to

swim?”

I doubt that a fish can. But I am not a fish. As an unrepentant critic and

analyser, I may even be a fisherman (although I try to keep my catches alive

enough to throw them back rather than laying them out on slabs for filleting.

The point is, I am a reader, not a writer of fiction. My annoyance with all

these anticritical pronouncements of writers is that, consciously or not, they

seem to be recommending to their readers an attitude that might well be

essential to their own continuing creativity as writers but that is unnecessarily

limiting for readers. We can, and should, think about the qualities of good

books, even if their writers can’t or don’t want to. (202-203)

While I’m that I haven’t had to confront this kind of celebration of the joys of

thoughtlessness in my more recent reviews, I can’t help noticing that it’s still endemic.
Many of the participants in a recent discussion on the Childlit listserv on the internet

simply took it for granted that when it comes to reading children’s literature, pleasure

and analysis are directly antithetical, and never present at the same time. Analysis is

death, still, for some people, just as it was for Wordsworth; good readers are

thoughtlessly innocent ones.

6. Celebration of the Innocence (or Ignorance?) Of Children

Meanwhile, even critics who are themselves willing to be analytical continue to

assume that children are not, or should not be so. The idea that a reviewer’s

assumptions about the innocence of children is insulting to the many young human

beings who can and do know better recurs in review after review:

. . . Kuhn’s idea that all children are enigmatic is like the idea of some men that

all women are wonderfully sweet and gentle and passive . . . In suggesting

that children are better than adults, he makes them less than human, for he

sees them as ideas rather than as people, and he praises them for what are in

fact their inadequacies . . . . To praise children for being ignorant is a dreadful

insult to them. (98)

. . . Cott constantly confuses the simplistic qualities he finds in children’s

literature with the qualities of childhood itself, and he makes it quite clear that

he thinks children are wonderful exactly because they are limited. Blessed by
a lack of knowledge and experience, he suggests, they can transcend the petty

demands of good sense, social responsibility, logical thought, and history. . .

.Such a description of children’s literature is a tremendous insult to child

readers . . . . (206).

[Jack Zipes’s] conviction that these clearly outmoded [fairy] tales are still

harmful not only contradicts his own faith that they represent now outmoded

forms of socialization, it is also a gross insult to contemporary children. If

children have not been indoctrinated by the world around them to find

Perrault’s sexism palatable, then why assume that this peculiarly limited view of

the world should be so attractive to them that they will automatically accept it

the first time they hear it . . . . (82)

. . . Shavit’s blindness both to the capabilities of children and the ability

of good children’s books to educate their literary tastes causes her to miss the

most interesting aspects of children’s literature. (164)

The worst flaw of [Elliot] Gose’s book is the disdain it frequently expresses for

the intended audience of the books he discusses. He suggests that children are

somehow lower on the ladder of evolution than adults when he says that a

magical vision of the universe is “appropriate to a child’s way of seeing, as

well as to the outlook of primitive man” (21) and comes right out and says it

when he makes the condescending statement that “children, with their


simplified humanity, can be easily associated with or readily represented by

animals. They are closer to the animal state from which humanity evolved and

can empathize with animals more readily than adults can” [182]. I happily

accept the unfortunate fact that many adults do, consciously or not, believe just

that; but I’ve rarely read so distastefully blatant a statement of it. (155)

. . . when he’s talking about children’s reading, [Hunt] conveniently forgets

about the child as subject of his culture’s ideology [a subject he discusses

elsewhere in his book] and posits, instead, the child as unique self: an

independent, innocent, spontaneous, imaginative free spirit, a being who

triumphantly escapes all adult attempts at control, who remains at any point in

his childhood as innocent of adult culture as a baby newly emerged from the

womb . . . [This is] a simplistic and limited image of what children are and of

how they fit within the network of the culture they belong to. (38)

The innocence of imaginary child readers is, of course, the key distinguishing quality

of most adult discussions of children’s books, which centre around questions about

whether books might be too sophisticated or too complex for children. But it’s

disheartening that knowledgeable researchers should be unable to move beyond it.

7. Celebration of the Innocence (or Ignorance?)

Of Children’s Literature
A third thread of celebration of innocence involves children’s books

themselves: the insistence that they are indeed simple, one-sided, unambivalently and

joyfully optimistic in their view of life. Occasionally, as with Rose, children’s books

are condemned for their presumed innocence:

she condemns just about all . . . children’s books because they are simple,

straightforward, unambiguous, and devoid of sexual content. Some of them

are, of course--but far fewer of them than many adults like to admit. Rose

ignores the ambiguity that underlies the apparent simplicity of most good

children’s books, for she seems to be determined to read children’s books in

terms of the quite limited and often wrongheaded assertions that critics and

authors make about them” (99).

But more often, the presumed innocence of books is celebrated as wisdom, as in Cott:

Certainly, many children’s books present a simple view of childhood

than do many adult ones, at least before their climaxes; they are books which

allow the simplicities of innocence. That’s why Cott insists they are wise, for

he’s one of that breed who believe that complexity is just too damned

confusing to be real; after all, if God had wanted us to think, he would have

given us minds. (207)

The insistence that children’s books are innocently wise leads to yet another

recurring set of exclusions and unawarenesses. In my review of Moynihan and


Shaner’s Masterworks of Children’s Literature, I noted Moynihan’s proposal that

“irony and tragedy [may be] inherently unworkable as modes for children’s books.”

and said, “That effectively ignores the irony even in simple picture books like Pat

Hutchins’s Rosie’s Walk . . . and the tragic implications of books as different as

White’s Charlotte’s Web and Cormier’s I Am the Cheese” (149). This directly echoes

an earlier comment, on Rose:

Rose claims children’s literature is without irony--yet even simple picture books

like Pat Hutchins’s Rosie’s Walk demand a perception of irony before they can

be fully appreciated . . . . She claims that children’s books ignore sexuality--

and thus ignores the way in which works like The Stone Book and Where the

Wild Things Are speak to the polymorphous sexuality of childhood. (99)

And that, in turn is echoed by yet another comment, this one about Shavit’s idea that

Perrault’s fairy tales imply both an innocent child reader and an adult with a sense of

irony:

The serious flaw in this argument is Shavit’s own assumption that children are

always naive and the only adults can appreciate irony . . . .Where the theory

ceases to be persuasive is where it encounters Shavit’s blithe assumption that

children are incapable of understanding anything but simple formulas, and that

therefore, the sophisticated elements in children’s books can only be intended

for and understood by adults” (Q 11,4: 163).


And yet again, this time in regard to Jack Zipes’ Fairy Tales and the Art of

Subversion: “Zipes is so busy finding corrupt values lurking even in apparently

innocuous stories that he constantly misses obvious ironies. In fact, the least

persuasive aspect of his interpretations is his refusal, or perhaps inability, to notice the

tone of the works he purports to analyse” (82).

A comment I made back in 1985 about Rose’s simplistic vision of children’s

books nicely sums up the central paradox this paper is forcing me to recognize: the

fact that critics’ faulty perceptions of the simplicity of children, or of children’s books,

or of the criticism of children’s books, actually reveals their own unconscious or

deliberate ingenuousness: “In fact,” I say, “Rose is herself guilty of the unquestioning

innocence that she says, quite rightly, is not in fact a quality of children.” That critics

should so often be innocent--that they should so often replicate the qualities of and

assumptions about childhood they themselves find in the texts they explore, so that

their criticism reproduces the attitudes it examines in very process of analysing and

exposing them and theoretically, therefore, moving beyond them--suggests the

enduring strength of the most common cultural assumptions that control our thinking

about children and the objects of childhood. Like all manifestations of powerful

ideologies, these assumptions are tenaciously resilient, resistant to change or


eradication. I have to suspect that, could I get some distance on my own work, it too

would reveal the return of those very ideas about childhood I see it as my purpose to

attack and deflate.

I believe that these replications, these returns of repressed innocence, impose

two obligations both on me and on other children’s literature critics.

First, we need to be aware of the tenacity with which innocence returns to work

which has tried to move past it, and to be militant in our efforts to prevent it from

doing so: we won’t produce excellent scholarship unless we force ourselves to move

beyond all forms of innocence about children and about children’s literature, and to

keep ourselves open both to the subtleties and complexities of texts written for

children and to their subtle and complex relationships with an intricate network of

cultural ideas about childhood.

Second, and just as important: ideological theory persuades me that cultural

forces work by manipulating those most importantly affected by them into a lack of

awareness of them and of their implications. The tenacity with which innocence

reinserts itself into supposedly un-innocent scholarship therefore suggests that its

continuing existence (and our own lack of awareness of it) must be of great value to

powerful forces at work in our culture--forces in whose interest it is that we act

consciously or unconsciously as if children are innocent, and that even very learned

scholars approach texts written for children with an innocent simplicity. Who benefits
from the exclusion of children’s literature from the canon of respectably researchable

texts, of children from consideration as an audience for children’s books? How much

do these exclusions encourage common assumptions about the harmlessness of

children’s books that might well allow them to go on doing their work of constructing

children in ways that benefit powerful adults and powerful economic forces that might

well not deserve their power or be using it well?

My own answers to these questions are obvious. I believe we have an

obligation, therefore, to figure out what these powerful forces are, and to understand

how they operate. They may well not be good for scholarship. They may well not be

good for children.


Works Cited

Butler, Francelia. “The Editor’s High Chair” Children’s Literature 1 (1972):7-8.

These reviews by Perry Nodelman::

Review of Virginia L. Blum, Hide and Seek: The Child between Psychoanalysis and

Fiction (Urbana and Chicago, U of Chicago P, 1996), for The Lion and the Unicorn.

In progress:

Review of Maria Nikolajeva, Children’s Literature Comes of Age (New York:

Greenwood, 1995), for Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. In progress.

“Hatchet Job,” a review of Karín Lesnik-Oberstein, Children’s Literature: Criticism

and the Fictional Child (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994). Children’s Literature

Association Quarterly 21,1 (Spring 1996): 42-45.

“Hunt with a Canon,” review of Peter Hunt, ed., Children’s Literature: the

Development of Criticism (London and New York: Routledge, 1990) and Literature

for Children: Contemporary Criticism (Routledge 1993). Children’s Literature

Association Quarterly (Winter 1994-95): 193-194.


“Human Ideology,” a review of John Stephens, Language and Ideology in Children’s

Fiction (London and New York: Longman, 1992. Children’s Literature 22 (1994):

173-178.

“The Second Kind of Criticism,” a review of Peter Hunt’s Criticism, Theory, &

Children’s Literature, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 17,3 (Fall, 19992):

37-39.

“Take One before Bedtime--and Wake Up on Another Level" a review of Eliot Gose’s

Mere Creatures: A Study of Modern Fantasy Tales for Children, Children’s Literature

Association Quarterly, 15,3 (Fall, 1990): 154-155.

“Not with a Bang (or a Van Allsburg or a de Jong or a Konigsburg), But a

Whimper,” a review of Moynihan and Shaner’s Masterworks of Children’s Literature.

Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 14, 3 (Fall 1989): 148--149.

“Children’s Science Fiction as Retreaded Romance,” review of Janice Antczak’s

Science Fiction: The Mythos of a New Romance. Science Fiction Studies 13,2 (July

1986):216-218.
“Editor’s Comment: Signs of Confusion.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

11,4 (Winter 1986). A review of Zohar Shavit’s Poetics of Children’s Literature.

“Cott im Himmel,” review article on Jonathan Cott’s The Pipers at the Gates of Dawn,

Children’s Literature 13 (1985):204-8.

“Editor’s Comment: The Case of Children’s Fiction, or The Impossibility of Jacqueline

Rose.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 10,3 (Fall 1985):98-100.

“Editor’s Comment: The Understandable Children of Children’s Literature,”

Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 9,3 (Fall 1984):98,140. A review of

Reinhard Kuhn’s Corruption in Paradise: The Child in Western Literature (University

Press of New England, 1982).

Review of two books by Jack Zipes about fairy tales, Children’s Literature Association

Quarterly 9,2 (Summer 1984):81-2.

“Thirty Writers Reading,” review article, Children’s Literature 13 (1984):200-205.


“And the Prince Turned into a Peasant and Lived Happily Ever After,” review article

about Jack Zipes’ Breaking the Magic Spell. Children’s Literature 11 (1983).

“The Cognitive Estrangement of Darko Suvin,” (review article.) Children’s Literature

Association Quarterly 6,4 (Winter 1981):24-27.

“Defining Children’s Literature,” a review article. Children’s Literature 8 (1980):184-

192.

Reviews of books by Roger Sale, Diana Waggoner, Eric S. Rabkin, Max Luthi, and

Katharine Briggs. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly (Summer 1979):7- 8.