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Is the success of children's literature troublesome? Is it phenomenal? How do we judge the value of children's literature within the current culture that fosters the commercialization of childhood itself? In a series of essays mostly based on speeches given at various conferences, a scholar and social critic examines these and other provocative questions. Describing his passionate essays as "active talk," Zipes is nevertheless sometimes dense and arcane especially when he ventures into the political arena. He is most interesting when he writes directly about children's literature-the fairy tales retold by Wanda G g, the checkered history of the Grimm tales and their retellers, the history of storytelling and the appeal of Struwwelpeter. The phenomenon of Harry Potter is the subject of his final essay, and as he moves from literary to social critic, he finds Harry "part of the eternal return to the same-and, at the same time, part of the success and process by which we homogenize our children." Though the book is sometimes tedious, Zipes is always thought-provoking in his arguments.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
If [Zipes'] scholarship could be spread over several curricule vitae, the breadth and quality of it could certainly bring tenure to three or four scholars. -- Donald R. Hettinga
. . . he gives clear voice to the forces behind the huge boom in children's book publishing since the 1980s, which has served to form a safe veil of promoting literacy that disguises its own truth, namely that children are seen as commodities and used as pawns to increase parental consumerism. -- Adolescence
...adult-friendly content and an imposition of order in the imagination of the child, and, consequently, a constriction of the child's imaginative life. -- Susan Perren, Globe & Mail, Toronto
...stimulating esssays emphasize the curious status of children's literature as one defined, produced, and marketed not by children but by adults... -- Choice, J.J. Benardete, CUNY Hunter College
...invaluable chapters treat the 'contamination'...of Grimm's fairy tales in the 20th century, suggesting how such retellings refurbish folklore so as to 'question both past and present social conditions' and show young people how they may 'play creatively with the forces dictating how they are to shape their lives.'. -- Choice, J.J. Benardete, CUNY Hunter College
89 Pts !!!!! Must Read. -- Today's Books
[Zipes's] passion for his topic is clear...his essays spotlight complex issues that deserve wide consideration. -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Zipes is always thought-provoking in his arguments. -- School Library Journal
While not every reader will agree entirely with Zipes's thesis, professionals need to be aware of his point of view. -- Library Journal