OWP's Wild Things Discussion discussion

Quotes, passages, memories . . .

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message 1: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 13 comments Which parts are sticking with you so far? Why? I'm going to be posting a few quotes (or maybe booksnaps) on Twitter as well. If you join me in this, please tag @owpmu or add the #owpchat hashtag. Of course, you can just reply here as well.

message 2: by Krista (new)

Krista Hill | 6 comments I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Margaret Wise Brown, who she was, and the process she went through while thinking about and creating "Goodnight Moon." She understood the point of view of the child. I love that!

I did not agree at all with Bruce Handy's evaluation of "The Giving Tree." In this world there are givers and takers. Some more of one, some less of the other. Some completely one or the other. The world needs both, and at different times in our lives we may be givers or takers depending on our circumstances. Thank God we can find givers when we need them!

Sendak's admission of a "personal exorcism" while creating "Where the Wild Things Are," was fascinating to hear. I would never have thought that writing children's literature could be so powerful and in such a personal way.

message 3: by Christene (new)

Christene Alfonsi | 9 comments I'll echo that I loved reading about Margaret Wise Brown, enough that I'll seek out a biography at some point. She seems like a fascinating woman.

I'm also interested in the idea of inference-making in the Frances books, particularly Handy's assertion that "Hoban is a master of implication--she [Frances] is clearly aggrieved that her routines have been disrupted and her needs not immediately met" (40). Discussing a children's book with a young child often shows how adept kids are at making inferences and noticing implication. I find that this skill is lacking in my high school students who struggle to comprehend grade-level text. Using children's books or film snippets can help teach these skills, but I still struggle a bit to help teenagers see nuance of meaning when they're struggling readers.

message 4: by Amanda (last edited Oct 10, 2017 11:49AM) (new)

Amanda Lawson (amandalawson) | 9 comments Let me admit, that I have been using post it notes like crazy while reading to share things with my husband. However, they have not been "ah-ha" moments. They have been more of a scratching my head-- "what was he thinking" kind of moments. I feel like he REALLY stretches his connections. On page 14, when he stated that the line "Goodnight nobody" paved the way for the Monty Python and David Letterman. I assume he was joking... right? Part of me feels like his view on trying to sexualize fairy tales have ruined fairy tales for me. Haha.

One thing that I did really find fascinating though, and it was mainly a footnote, was on page 54. "...the Third Reich embraced the brothers' (Grimm) work, insisting that fairy tales be taught in schools and even restoring the violence and cruelty that had been pruned from some editions." Prior to this book, I would have never assumed a connection between the Third Reich and fairy tales. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense though. The consequences of not doing what you are told as well as the blood, guts, and gore.

message 5: by Karen (new)

Karen Gardner | 6 comments I have read Goodnight Moon so many times to my own children when they were little that I found the first chapter very interesting. I enjoyed learning the history of the writing of the book by Brown. I enjoyed learning how the book tied to her own childhood and the tiles of a cow and the three bears in her bedroom. I also found myself thinking about the change in title from Goodnight Room to Goodnight Moon. I found it interesting because there is a whole Goodnight Moon room at The Blue Marble bookstore in Fort Thomas. Little things like that amuse me.

message 6: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 12 comments I found the discussion on parental figures in children's book interesting and somewhat comical. I hadn't thought about Hoban's Frances character since I was a kid, and it made me want to check out a book from the library to share with my daughter! I could picture Frances and her feistiness as I reread the lines that Handy discussed. I had never thought about the role her parents play in the book, and how they do seem very patient, orderly, and very well put together. It was interesting to look at these characters in a different way, as an adult, and I was relieved to read mostly positive things in Handy's book about them.

However, another section I was interested in was the discussion of "Where the Wild Things Are." I agreed with Handy's opinion when he states, "I was aware of "Where the Wild Things Are" as something I should like, and I think I felt lacking for not getting it." I have always felt this way about this book! I have never liked it. The illustrations always scared me, and I never liked the phrase "eat you up!" Since it is such classic, it is hard to admit that! I also enjoyed reading Sendak's discussion with a woman about the book and how her daughter did not like it. She says, "But it won the Caldecott. She's supposed to like it." This made me think about how important it is that we give students choice when reading. Even though a book may be beloved by a lot of people, that does not mean that it is a good fit for everyone.

message 7: by Catherine (new)

Catherine | 12 comments Amanda wrote: "Let me admit, that I have been using post it notes like crazy while reading to share things with my husband. However, they have not been "ah-ha" moments. They have been more of a scratching my head..."

I agree- some of what I read is interesting, but the fairy tale section really alarmed me. I know the Grimm fairy tales are dark, but I sure am glad I never read anything like "The Juniper Tree" as a kid. As I read on through the other chapters, I am afraid that I may learn something about the background of a book or characters that I love, that may change my experience with the book, and especially those nostalgic connections from my childhood.

message 8: by Karen (new)

Karen Gardner | 6 comments Catherine,
I also found the part about parenting interesting. I guess I have never paid that much attention to that concept and it also made me want to go back and look over books that I read as a kid and books I read to my children to see how the parent role was portrayed.

message 9: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay (lorelai1945) | 6 comments The chapter on fairy tales and Maurice Sendak made me think of a book that my grandmother bought me as a kid; it had one "bedtime story" for each night of the year, and about half were either creepy, twisted, or downright frightening to me. (That grandmother was not good at choosing gifts, to say the least.) I was a sensitive kid, and I preferred my Disney renditions over the somewhat horrid original stories they were based on. I was aware that those stories existed, but I chose to ignore them whenever possible.
I never liked Maurice Sendak, feeling that the illustrations were also somewhat creepy, and as a child of the late 80's/early 90's, I felt like there was something old-fashioned in a negative way about anything Sendak wrote. I just never cared for it. I definitely feel like he is an author you're "supposed" to appreciate, and Handy even touches on that here. I found it interesting that he (Handy) spent so much time on Sendak when he admits that he didn't like Wild Things as a kid, and he thinks The Night Kitchen is not-so-covertly sexual...there are so many other good authors to choose from!
I also never liked The Giving Tree, so I was glad to hear that at least one other person feels that way! (I thought it was depressing and that the boy was selfish and took too much advantage of the poor tree. Even at that age, my environmentalism was showing!)
I loved Beatrix Potter as a child, and hadn't thought about her stories in a long time. Reading the commentary here makes me want to reread some of my favorites. I never really thought about the messages or undertones in any of her stories, but to think about it now, some of her stories could have gone quite dark. She sounds like a fascinating person.
I agree wholeheartedly with Handy's assessment of Beverly Cleary. Her books really do get to the heart of what it is really like to be a kid. One thing he said that stuck out to me was "I suspect on this count, more of us identify with Beezus than Ramona" in reference to Beezus feeling ungifted and Ramona having a zany imagination. I always sympathized with Ramona and felt like Beezus was the cool, "normal" sister that I never seemed to be. I can't imagine that more of us didn't feel more like a Ramona than a Beezus...
I just finished the chapter on C.S. Lewis and Narnia. I have to admit that I never read those books as a kid, and only when I began teaching did I pick up The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a potential small group book choice. As an adult, I was shocked at the violence displayed with the killing of Aslan, and it really put me off. I felt it was too heavy-handed with allegory as Handy mentions later books are, and decided that series just wasn't for me. I wonder how many kids these days are reading them, and if any enjoy them?

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