The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature
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A Sense of Place
‘This Is Our House’ and ‘Once Upon a Northern Night’
From "This Is Our House"
By SARAH HARRISON SMITH
Published: July 31, 2013
“What would it be like to stay in one place — to have your own bed, to ride your own bicycle?” a little girl named Anna wonders in Maxine Trottier’s 2011 picture book, “Migrant.” “Now that would be something.” Anna’s parents, who are migrant workers, move from one temporary home to another, and Anna imagines herself as a rabbit, living in abandoned burrows, or a bee, flitting from flower to flower. She is effectively homeless, and longs to live a settled life, “like a tree with roots sunk deeply into the earth.”
THIS IS OUR HOUSE
Written and illustrated by Hyewon Yum
40 pp. Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 8)
ONCE UPON A NORTHERN NIGHT
By Jean E. Pendziwol
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
32 pp. Groundwood Books. $17.95. (Picture book; ages 4 to 7)
Times Topic: Children's Books Reviews
From "Once Upon a Northern Night"
Home is also at the heart of two new picture books, “This Is Our House,” written and illustrated by Hyewon Yum, and “Once Upon a Northern Night,” written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (whose artwork for Trottier’s “Migrant” earned a New York Times Best Illustrated award). Yum, originally from South Korea but now living in Brooklyn, sets her story in a city that could very well be New York, among a family of recent immigrants whose country of origin is never specified; Pendziwol and Arsenault, both Canadian, describe a cozy home in a wintry rural landscape.
On the title page of “This Is Our House,” a watercolor illustration shows a photograph of a little girl peeking her head around a front door, as if to welcome the reader inside. On the next, a framed black and white photograph — again painted in watercolor — shows the house as it looked when her grandparents “arrived from far away with just two suitcases in hand.” In a pattern Yum continues throughout the book, the photo of the house is faced by a full-page scene. Here, the girl’s grandparents talk to each other as they stand outside their new home for the first time. The grandmother looks as if she is either shyly pleased, or hesitant. What is certain is her husband’s encouraging smile.
The photos reveal the public story, Yum seems to suggest, but there’s more to be told. And sure enough, the full-page scenes are intimate rather than posed: moments of action, and sometimes of crossness and tears; a little quarrel over the painting of the baby’s room on one side of the spread, a photo of the delighted expectant mother posing in a fully decorated room on the other. Mostly, the three generations who come to live in the house together display smiles and kind concern for one another.
Yum uses a springlike palette of yellow, pinks and greens, even when there’s snow on the sidewalk, and the little girl’s dark braids perfectly set off the fresh, happy colors. With time, the once-bare facade of the house comes to life with window boxes, flowering hedges and potted plants of the front stoop. The seasons cycle though the pictures as the family grows, including, at the end, a baby brother for the little narrator. She gives a slight twist to the book’s title in her final summary: “This is our home where my family lives.”
If family is central to Yum’s sense of home, Pendziwol and Arsenault enlarge that sense of a precious place to encompass a natural setting. “Once Upon a Northern Night” is spoken in a voice that could be that of an artist, a parent or even a deity. While a fair-haired boy sleeps “wrapped in a downy blanket,” the voice describes a scene in which wild animals roam across snowy fields as the northern lights play across the sky. Of the lights, the narrator says, “I tried to capture them but they were much too nimble, and only their rhythm reached you, deep in slumber, rising and falling with each sweet peaceful breath.”
Arsenault’s nighttime landscapes, created with gouache, ink, pencil and watercolor, add dramatic emphasis to the text; the wings of an owl with bright yellow and black eyes can scarcely fit on two pages; the russet tail and hind legs of a fox are lit by the moon while the rest of his body can be seen only faintly, in the shadows. Black and white dominate with occasional flashes of color — red apples on the bare branches of a tree, spiky green pine needles. The boy’s house appears only twice, but the overwhelming sense of the home is as a secure haven from which to view, or imagine, a mysterious and beautiful world. Older children may resist the slight sentimentality of Pendziwol’s text, but on a dark night a younger child is likely to revel in this book’s mixture of magic, wildlife and deep comfort.
The Children's Books Special Section features new books about grandparents, New York City traditions and books about holiday songs. Don't miss these features, the best illustrated books of 2011 and much more on nytimes.com/books.
1958年即由 Peter Opie 建議編寫此百科
The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature
DescriptionDig into almost 2,000 entries in this bulging resource, where Anne of Green Gables rubs elbows with the Lord of the Rings, Mother Goose with Punch and Judy, Hans Christian Andersen with Christina Rossetti, and Maurice Sendak with Kate Greenaway. It's thorough -- and indispensable for teachers, librarians, and parents.
Product Details608 pages; 134 b/w drawings, & halftones;
About the AuthorHumphrey Carpenter's books include biographies of J. R. R. Tolkien, W. H. Auden, C. S. Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Benjamin Britten. He is the author of the popular Mr Majeika series of stories for children. Mari Prichard has worked as a broadcaster and teacher, and is now a local government education officer. She and Humphrey Carpenter were married in 1973 and have two daughters.
Table of Contents
Preface, Acknowledgements, Note to the Reader, A-Z text.
Roald Dahl 在1990年就過世。The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature 寫於80年代，不過90年代再版多次，卻未更新資料；http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl
Roald Dahl 在1990年就過世。The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature 寫於80年代，不過90年代再版多次，卻未更新資料；http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl
幸運的是，我們的讀書俱樂部有一位明星主持人。她的名字叫伊登·羅斯·利普森(Eden Ross Lipson)。
伊登在她編輯的《紐約時報最佳童書指南》(The New York Times Parent』s Guide to the Best Books for Children, 1988)中描述了這種即興詢問。她會用一長串的問題轟炸你：「多大的孩子？男孩女孩？住在哪兒？有兄弟姐妹嗎？是單親家庭嗎？有什麼特殊愛好嗎？是想要 一本可供朗讀的書 ，還是讓孩子自己看的書？」
其中一本是《巨大的線球》(The Giant Ball of String, 2002)，文圖作者是阿瑟·蓋澤特(Arthur Geisert)。我們差不多把這本書都翻破了。它是個俏皮的道德寓言故事，講述了關於愛、偷竊、欺詐與正義。它可以被拍成一部嚴肅的兒童復仇惡作劇，可以讓韋斯·安德森(Wes Anderson)來導演。
另一本叫《嬰兒們爬走的那一天》(The Day the Babies Crawled Away, 2003)，作者是佩姬·拉特曼(Peggy Rathmann)。天知道為什麼某些圖畫書能像魚鉤一樣緊緊地抓住你的心。對我們來說，這本書就是這樣的。它的故事情節很簡單——一群嬰兒在集市上從父 母的身邊爬走，一個小男孩跟隨並搭救了他們。
可是這本書很漂亮，而且給人一種身臨其境的感覺。一切都很 明快，背景是傍晚霓虹初上的天空。其中有一些有趣的亮點，比如有一個嬰兒，你幾乎在每一幅畫里都能找到他在什麼地方倒掛着。孩子們喜歡仔細查看內容豐富的 圖畫，尋找意想不到的細節。我們的孩子們給這個古怪的小孩起了個綽號，叫「蝙蝠寶貝」。
伊登還給了我一本《愛潑薩蒙達》(Epossumondas, 2002)，故事作者是科林·薩莉(Coleen Salley)，插圖作者是珍妮特·史蒂文斯(Janet Stevens)。它是根據一個南方民間故事改編的，十分有趣。
我通常最後會把這個故事大聲念出來。我會用米克·賈格爾(Mick Jagger)演唱《眼神空靈》(Far Away Eyes)時模仿的南方口音來朗誦——我希望南方的朋友們不要介意我這麼做。這本書講的是一隻負鼠，「他是媽媽和阿姨眼中的小心肝」。
比如漢斯·德·比爾(Hans de Beer)的《小北極熊》(Little Polar Bear, 1987)。這本書詼諧而哀傷，我的孩子們快不用穿紙尿褲時，特別喜歡這本書。
還有尼爾·蓋曼(Neil Gaiman)和戴夫·麥基恩(Dave McKean)的《牆中狼》(The Wolves in the Walls, 2003)。這些狼特別喜歡玩鬧，就像拉夫·斯特德曼(Ralph Steadman)畫里或沃倫·澤馮(Warren Zevon)歌中的那些卑鄙、骯髒的毛毛怪。
馬克·艾倫·斯達馬提(Mark Alan Stamaty)1973年出版的精彩而超現實的圖畫書《誰需要甜甜圈》(Who Needs Donuts?)是我準備打包的另一本書。斯達馬提把書中所有空白的地方都畫上了超現實的、詼諧的細節圖。這本書在2003年由Alfred A. Knopf出版社再次出版，堪稱經典。
然後就是《名叫新奧爾良的火車》(The Train They Call the City of New Orleans, 2003)。這本書的內容跟1970年史蒂夫·古德曼(Steve Goodman)創作的同名經典歌詞差不多，由邁克爾·麥柯迪 (Michael McCurdy)配上插圖。多好的主意啊。你肯定樂意向孩子們低聲吟唱。
孩子們還小的時候，我們不是只在睡覺前讀圖畫書。克里的最佳創意之一是「爆米花讀書派對」。它的操作步驟是這樣的：1) 把爆米花做上。2) 把你最喜歡的童書都拿出來。3) 大喊「爆米花讀書派對！」4) 盡量保證童書讀完的時候，爆米花正好做好。
湯米·狄波拉(Tomie De Paola)：《騎士和火龍》(The Knight and the Dragon)
朱爾斯·菲弗(Jules Feiffer)：《汪汪喬治》(Bark, George)
朱爾斯·菲弗：《我丟了我的熊》(I Lost My Bear)
羅素·霍本(Russell Hoban和莉蓮·霍本(Lillian Hoban)：《弗朗西絲的麵包和果醬》(Bread and Jam for Frances)
蒙羅·利夫(Munro Leaf)和羅伯特·勞森(Robert Lawson)：《費迪南德的故事》(The Story of Ferdinand)
阿斯特麗德·林德格倫(Astrid Lindgren)和哈拉爾德·維貝格(Harld Wiberg)：《湯姆登和狐狸》(The Tomten and the Fox)
莫里斯·森達克(MAURICE SENDAK)：《夜晚的廚房》(In the Night Kitchen)
桑德拉·斯蒂恩(Sandra Steen)，蘇珊·斯蒂恩(Susan Steen)和G·布萊恩·卡拉斯(G. Brian Karas)：《洗車》(Car Wash)
Memories of a Bedtime Book Club
July 23, 2013
The wine boxes and masking tape are out, because I’ve begun to pack up the last, best books in my children’s picture book library.
This is an overdue task. They’re 13 and 15 now and we haven’t read aloud to them in years. We’ve kept this final stack at hand out of undiluted nostalgia. Moving it into the attic shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is.
In the past, when I’ve had to pack my personal library, what I’ve boxed are talismans of intense yet essentially private experience. Picture books aren’t like this. When you’re putting away these square, dog-eared, popcorn-butter-stained things, you’re confronting an entire cosmos of collective memory.
Because my wife and I so repeatedly read these favorite picture books aloud — comically, exhaustedly, occasionally inebriatedly — to our children, their words and images have worn grooves into our minds. They occupy places in our family’s shared consciousness as indelibly as do summer vacations, trips to the hospital or injured birds cared for in cardboard boxes.
They’re the fine, weird, uncanny poems we’ve each memorized and carry around in our heads. They’re evocative of some of life’s best things — wet hair, clean pajamas, the end of working days. They’re the last books the four of us are likely ever to read again at anything like the same moment. Our splendid nightly book club has ended its run.
Happily for us, our book club had its Oprah. Her name was Eden Ross Lipson.
Eden was The New York Times Book Review’s longtime children’s book editor, a legend in her field, who died in 2009. When my kids were little, I worked as an editor at the Book Review, and I had the crazy good fortune to possess the desk next to hers.
She had a jumbo-size personality (the journalist Cokie Roberts spoke at her funeral service) and jumbo-size opinions. She wouldn’t recommend a book for your children until she knew everything about them and, almost as importantly, everything about you. She’d need to grill you. Her interrogations were tests of character.
Eden described these improvised interviews in “The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children,” (1988) a book she edited. She would bear down on you like this: “How old a child? A boy or a girl? Where does he or she live? Siblings? Intact family? Special interests? A book to read aloud, or a book for a child to read to herself?”
These were merely the opening salvos. It was as intense as psychotherapy. Afterward, you had to go and sit down. At the time, I still smoked, so I’d recuperate in one of the smoking lounges in the Times’s old building on West 43rd Street.
One of Eden’s dictums was that there was no way to tell if a new children’s classic had arrived until a generation or two had passed. The question isn’t whether you’ll read a book to your kids. It’s whether they will read the same book to their kids, and so on down the line.
My wife, Cree, and I both had favorite kids’ books from when we were young, books we couldn’t wait to read aloud to our children. But Eden was always there to slip me a new thing or two. “Here,” she’d say, “this writer has really got something.” Or: “Dwight, I think your daughter is finally ready for this.” Some of these became dearly prized.
One was “The Giant Ball of String” (2002), with text and art by Arthur Geisert. We’ve read this book until it’s nearly come apart. It’s a sly moral fable about love and theft and guile and justice. You can imagine it directed, as a kind of poker-faced kid’s revenge caper, by Wes Anderson.
Another was “The Day the Babies Crawled Away” (2003) by Peggy Rathmann. Who knows why certain picture books catch like fishhooks in your mind. For us, this was one of them. It’s barely got a story — it’s about a gaggle of babies who crawl away from their parents at a fair, and the young boy who follows and rescues them.
But it’s beautiful and enveloping. Everything is in crisp shadow against a neon late afternoon sky. There are funny grace notes, like the one baby who can be found hanging upside down somewhere in almost every drawing. Kids love to scan busy drawings for unpredictable detail. Ours nicknamed this weird kid “bat baby.”
Eden also gave me “Epossumondas” (2002), by Coleen Salley with illustrations by Janet Stevens. It’s based on a Southern folktale, and it’s hilarious.
I usually ended up reading this story aloud — I hope my Southern friends will forgive me for this — in the kind of faux-backwoods accent Mick Jagger employed in the song “Far Away Eyes.” The book’s about a possum who is “his mama’s and his auntie’s sweet little patootie.”
Other books, in our pile of favorites, we discovered on our own.
Hans de Beer’s “Little Polar Bear” (1987), for example, a witty, plaintive book my children adored when they were barely out of diapers.
And Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s “The Wolves in the Walls” (2003). These wolves are party animals, mean scuzzy fuzzballs out of a Ralph Steadman drawing or a Warren Zevon song.
It’s hideous joy to watch them frolic, and to witness them getting their comeuppance. The book’s refrain, uttered by a girl’s disbelieving mother and father, is this: “If the wolves come out of the walls, then it’s all over.”
Mark Alan Stamaty’s brilliant and surreal 1973 picture book, “Who Needs Donuts?”, is another I’m about to pack up. Mr. Stamaty tattoos every available surface in his books with surreal and witty detail. This book, reissued by Alfred A. Knopf in 2003, deserves to become a classic.
It’s one I’ve read to my children at least 500 times. To this day we can’t drive past a Dunkin’ Donuts without someone in the back seat plaintively or sarcastically mewling the book’s central question: “Who needs doughnuts, when you’ve got love?”
Then there’s “The Train They Call the City of New Orleans” (2003), which is little more than the lyrics to Steve Goodman’s classic 1970 song, illustrated by Michael McCurdy. What a good idea. You’ve got to be willing to whisper-sing to your kids to put this over.
We didn’t, when our kids were young, only read picture books at bedtime. One of Cree’s best inventions was the “popcorn reading party.” Here’s how you have a popcorn reading party: a) You make popcorn. b) You gather a pile of your best kids’ books. c) You yell, “popcorn reading party!” d) You try to work it out so that the kids books end at about the same time the popcorn does.
We read plenty of classics to our kids. But I’ve intentionally omitted Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, Doctor Seuss or other classic practitioners here. They don’t need my assistance.
It’s a treat to be able to pass along news of a few lesser-known books that I’m certain will pass the Eden Test. Someday my kids will open these boxes, gasp with delight, and eagerly read them to their own.
The list, in alphabetical order:
HANS DE BEER “Little Polar Bear”
TOMIE DE PAOLA “The Knight and the Dragon”
JULES FEIFFER “Bark, George”
JULES FEIFFER “I Lost My Bear”
NEIL GAIMAN AND DAVE MCKEAN “The Wolves in the Walls”
ARTHUR GEISERT “The Giant Ball of String”
STEVE GOODMAN AND MICHAEL MCCURDY “The Train They Call the City of New Orleans”
RUSSELL HOBAN AND LILLIAN HOBAN “Bread and Jam for Frances”
MUNRO LEAF AND ROBERT LAWSON “The Story of Ferdinand”
ASTRID LINDGREN AND HARALD WIBERG “The Tomten and the Fox”
PEGGY RATHMANN “The Day the Babies Crawled Away”
COLEEN SALLEY AND JANET STEVENS “Epossumondas”
MAURICE SENDAK “In the Night Kitchen”
MARK ALAN STAMATY “Who Needs Donuts?”
SANDRA STEEN, SUSAN STEEN AND G. BRIAN KARAS “Car Wash”