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Wild Things > Colonial Hints

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message 1: by SCPL (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
In Handy’s discussion about animal stories, he notes that animal stories such as the original Babar and Curious George books “took on, deliberate or not, the political and social colourations of their own era.” He goes on to note that both Babar and Curious George can be seen “as coded defenses of colonization.” Pg. 94-95. However, he also goes on to state that Leonard Marcus, a children’s literature expert, writes that fantasy-animals allow the reader to “both put the story’s lessons into clearer relief, and leave the reader free to dismiss – or enjoy – the whole thing as sheer nonsense.” Pg. 95.

Do you think that children are perceptive enough when reading stories to pick up on hidden messages, intentional or not, or do you think they just enjoy the story as “sheer nonsense.”

message 2: by Jules (new)

Jules (missblythe) I think children can pick up on certain hints. It probably depends on their age and how much their parents have talked with them about literature and history. I LOVED Babar and could look at the illustrations for hours. I think it was interesting that the author was French but so many characters especially Cornelius remind me of the British aristocracy. It's interesting that some children's books are a direct reflection of the time when they were written (I think the Eloise series is another example) while some can be "timeless." One thing I don't like is when a novel written during a certain point in history (perfect recent example is "Anne of Green Gables") is reinterpreted for a new generation and the original story is lost because it was supposed to take place in a era when society was quite different from what it is today. I think that if a child can learn about the time a novel was written and how the time period influences the characters that is a great opportunity for the child to learn history and how to understand people who might be different than they are.

message 3: by SCPL (last edited Dec 14, 2018 09:49AM) (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Thank you for your comment Jules! I will admit that the colonial aspect of Babar is somewhat clouded in my memory, mainly due to the influence of the TV show that was produced in the late 80s/early 90s. However, I agree with you completely that there are some books that are more timeless than others. For me, when a book really emphasises a specific type of technology, it can really date it a few years later.

I also have trouble with adaptations and playing with the original content or the historical context. I know not everyone agrees with me, but it's one reason why I haven't started watching the new Anne of Green Gables series. I love the original books so much that I struggle with the adaptations. I think that historical context is important and it not always satisfying on film or television when the context of the time period is lost. That being said, I may still watch it someday, but it took me 25 years to watch the movies so it may take some time.


message 4: by Jules (new)

Jules (missblythe) Yeah, I loved the Megan Follows version but even that wasn't set in exactly the right time period--according to the fashions. Their clothing was more 1910s than 1870s or 1880s. Plus when you read a book you get a set idea in your head of who the charcters are and what they might look like.

message 5: by SCPL (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
As a history major I struggle with historical adaptations. I'm not a stickler if something flows better with the story, but moving up a film a couple of decades is a bit perplexing to me. And I also agree with Jules, I totally have images for what I think characters look like. For some books and stories, such as Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe, I don't want a movie/TV version because I don't want my characters to be spoiled!


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