Wild Things

Wild Things

The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as An Adult

Book - 2017
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"An irresistible, nostalgic, and insightful--and totally original--ramble through classic children's literature from Vanity Fair contributing editor (and father) Bruce Handy. In 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children's book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as "Strive to learn" and "Be not a dunce," it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to "Let the wild rumpus start"? And now that we're living in a golden age of children's literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte's Web and Little House on the Prairie? In Wild Things, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bruce Handy revisits the classics of every American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the back stories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes are shared by The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy's Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby. It's a profound, eye-opening experience to reencounter books that you once treasured after decades apart. A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children's books and authors from Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum to Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Mildred D. Taylor, and E.B. White, Wild Things will bring back fond memories for readers of all ages, along with a few surprises"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2017
ISBN: 9781451609950
Characteristics: xxiii, 307 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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IndyPL_SteveB Nov 14, 2018

Enjoyable and insightful look at children’s literature classics by a father who is a writer for Vanity Fair and other magazines. Any parent who has read a lot to his or her children will appreciate this.

Handy’s first expression of love is for Margaret Wise Brown, well-known as the author of the all-time preschool classic, *Goodnight, Moon*, but also the author of dozens of other childhood staples, like *The Runaway Bunny*and *Two Little Trains*. Handy proceeds to show his appreciation (frequently mixed with aggravation for particular books or chapters) of Beverly Cleary, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maurice Sendak, Beatrix Potter, Mildred D. Taylor, and many others. Especially valuable is his chapter discussing how death has been handled in children’s books, concluding with a loving appreciation for what might be the best (or close to it) children’s novel of all time, *Charlotte’s Web*. Even when I had a different experience in reading a book than he did, he got me to think about these books more deeply than I had before.

Sep 24, 2018

This book is stunning and fascinating. Took my time reading it but worth every minute.

Dec 05, 2017

Really good. Interesting and amusing. (One little thing: all narrators should be asked to pronounce the word mischievous before they begin reading. It's not mis-cheev-ious.)


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