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review 2018-02-25 17:18
Fun, Funny and Added tons to my TBR
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult - Bruce Handy

A big thanks to Reading For The Heck Of It for letting me know about this fun book about books! 

 

It took me forever to read it because I kept stopping to read children's books, and I have a long list of others -- from 17th century children's books to Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction  and other recent adult topics to read in future.

 

I learned a lot and laughed a lot throughout this book. Bruce Handy never fails to toss in a comment that reminds us we're reading here and now in the 21st century. Whether it's an aside about the normality of walking home alone in the 1960s or a quip, "She's lucky there were no Mommy Blogs in nineteenth century Germany," we're in on the laughs and we learn or are reminded of quite a bit about being a child and the wonderous world of reading as one.

 

In chapter after chapter, we go from the most beloved and/or commonly read to the obscure and often wonderful finds. It's clear that a lot of research went into this book (a ton of visits to libraries housing out-of-print books for children that I'm glad to know about and equally glad he visited rather than me.) From the Brothers Grimm in the original language to Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and even Disney - not really books. We go from the earliest baby picture books to separation anxiety to educational books to dealing with mortality and many other topics - all with a child's eye.

 

I will certainly be buying a copy of this one for myself if only to annoy people by reading the huge amount of hilarious highlighting I did in the library's digital copy.

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review 2018-01-13 02:52
Don't dismiss children's literature just because you're an adult
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult - Bruce Handy

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy showed up on my radar through a footnote in another book that I read last year. (Just one more reminder that I am 100% a nerd especially in regards to children's literature.) Handy splits the chapters into different books considered 'classics' of children's literature and he explains why they've had a lasting effect and endured as long as they have. He makes an argument that there is a reason books become classics but there is also a clarity in realizing that a difference of opinion will most certainly occur. A good example is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I know this is a classic and it is still read by kids and parents now but I have never (and probably never will) consider this one a favorite. In that same vein, there were quite a few books that he mentioned that I had not heard of or had never read and I promptly added them to my TRL. (You may recognize some of the titles if you decide to read this book.) One of the best things about Wild Things was the organization of the chapters. It's quite obvious that Handy has not only done thorough research on the topic but has a real passion for the topic. This made it have an academic feel which I really appreciated. Interspersed throughout the book are personal anecdotes about the books he loved as a child as well as his experience introducing books to his children. (Get those tissues out, parents with small children. It's fairly sentimental.) I doubt this would be of as much interest to someone not in the field of children's literature but if you're looking for inspiration about what books to read to your kids at night then this would be an excellent source for you. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham (Coincidentally, I'm watching Midsomer Murders which is based off of the book series.)

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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