Author Topic: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?  (Read 1821 times)

Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2018, 04:21:28 PM »
I don't think this is particularly uncommon, they're all huge children's authors and lots of children will be exposed to all of them.

Yeah sorry, that's what I meant. I'm not sure there is a sort of standard childrens lit morality- as my (fairly standard) childhood reading shows.

I mean, for sure none of them advocate nazism, but yknow.

Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2018, 04:44:34 PM »
I've heard a few family members' kids say that The Twits is their favourite Dahl, and in fact favourite book of all time.  I suspect it's the total absence of moralising and adults putting on that flutey voice they use when talking to children that they find so refreshing.  That, and the nihilistic Tom & Jerryness of it all which of course appeals to the type of tyke who squishes bugs for fun.

gilbertharding

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Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2018, 11:59:37 AM »
I'd faintly remembered that story but assumed they let Henry out in the end after he'd gone "Sorry for being a vain cunt I suppose, or whatever the moral is meant to be here". But, no! It ends with Ringo Starr going "And they ber-luddy well left him in there to ber-luddy ROT, which I agree with and you should too." And the other wanker trains are all speeding past going "ahahaha!". Horrible.

You were right the first time - in the book the bricking-up occurs at the end of a chapter. By the end of the book Henry is given a chance to redeem himself, which he does.

Also worth mentioning is - it's a story from the first book. It's not as if, at that point, anyone knows the character of Henry. He's literally "...an engine attached to a train..." at that point, albeit an engine with a face.

I'll defend W Awdry up to a point. As well as the undercurrent of 'know your place', there are more positive messages of trying your best, doing your duty, playing fair, and being there for your friends and comrades.

Everyone gets a chance to redeem themselves (apart from one or two trucks, an 08 class diesel shunter, and a double-decker bus).

I love this website, by the way: http://www.sodor-island.net/railwayseries/henry.htm

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2018, 11:47:12 AM »
I've heard a few family members' kids say that The Twits is their favourite Dahl, and in fact favourite book of all time.  I suspect it's the total absence of moralising and adults putting on that flutey voice they use when talking to children that they find so refreshing.  That, and the nihilistic Tom & Jerryness of it all which of course appeals to the type of tyke who squishes bugs for fun.
I love The Twits but it is moral. “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Granted that's right near the start and then the rest of it is just two cunts being cunts.

Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2018, 07:42:42 AM »
The 80s phenomenon of Dahl as the most popular kid's author and figurehead for children's literature does seem strange in retrospect. If, prior to his success, parents had been asked what they'd like their children to be reading, I bet no-one would have said that what kids really need is the crazed sadism of George's Marvellous Medicine or The Twits. The period of Dahl's fame is sandwiched between phases where the most popular children's authors were doing much more earnest, morally straightforward stuff, Enid Blyton before and JK Rowling after. As a kid in the 80s I remember Dahl being heavily promoted, he was almost certainly the first author I was aware of. And I remember people talking very negatively about Enid Blyton as exactly what was wrong with children's books in the past, in a (Victorian/sentimental/twee/moralising)= bad.


So I think an answer to the thread title'question might be found if we compare different generations of people with an eye on what children's books were in vogue when they were kids. I bet that the differences in attitudes between Generation X and Millienials has, in a small way, something to do with the former being the anarcho-sadist Dahl cohort, and the latter being part of the Harry Potter cohort.



Damn, this would explain so much about the sanctimonious youth. No spirit.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2018, 08:23:19 AM »
Or it could be that children read more than one set of books so it's something else. Like contemporary culture.

grassbath

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Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2018, 07:42:38 PM »
As a millennial brought up on both Dahl and Rowling, I would rather read my child the madcap anything-can-happen stories of the former any day. Moral ambiguity and occasional sadism is good for the imagination. I remember very clearly tearing through The Witches when I was very young (6 or 7?) and being stunned by the lack of conclusiveness at the end, where the protagonist remains a mouse and he and his grandma just declare that they'll get by and get on with it. That got me thinking. The Witches have fucked off, sure, but the scars remain forever. No magic reversal, no neat bow, no happy ending.

By comparison, I have no serious qualms with Harry Potter on a moral/instructional/educational level, but... it's just a bit shit, isn't it?

The greatest kids book, which is weird and nightmarish as all hell but shapes up as a stirring case for reading and learning, is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.


Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2018, 01:25:22 AM »
I’m reading Harry Potter to a bunch of kids at the moment. I had half-expected to find it guiltily thrilling despite having loads of obvious flaws, but not even. It’s just so fucking boring isn’t it?

Phoenix Lazarus

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Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2018, 05:34:38 AM »
I’m reading Harry Potter to a bunch of kids at the moment. I had half-expected to find it guiltily thrilling despite having loads of obvious flaws, but not even. It’s just so fucking boring isn’t it?

Shows more finesse than just offering them sweets or asking them to help you find your puppy.

Hey, Punk!

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Re: Does children's literature have any effect in the long run at all?
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2018, 06:21:49 AM »
To turn away from moral and political influence a bit, I definitely believe that my obsessive reading of Roald Dahl as a child led me to love the weird and bizarre. Lovecraft was the natural bridge as a (not so) wee teenager, and of course I gone and went all literary with Kafka, Ballard and a bit of Poe every now and again. I'm unsure if he affected my politics, but I do very much dislike people who are needlessly authoritarian and cruel to children.

There was something quite naughty about reading Dahl, even though all of the adults encouraged me to do so. As a nipper I wondered if they'd actually even read him themselves, or if becoming an adult made them forget his weirdness.