- About the Contributors
- Chapter Abstracts
- The Fundamentals of Children’s Literature Criticism: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
- Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet: Poets, Children, and Readers in an Age of Prose
- Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together as a Primer for Critical Literacy
- Blending Genres and Crossing Audiences: Harry Potter and the Future of Literary Fiction
- Wanda’s Wonderland: Wanda Gág and Her Millions of Cats
- A Cross-Written Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes’s The Dream Keeper
- Dumbo, Disney, and Difference: Walt Disney Productions and Film as Children’s Literature
- Redrawing the Comic-Strip Child: Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts as Cross-Writing
- The Cat in the Hippie: Dr. Seuss, Nonsense, the Carnivalesque, and the Sixties Rebel
- Wild Things and Wolf Dreams: Maurice Sendak, Picture-Book Psychologist
- Reimagining the Monkey King in Comics: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese
- Froggy’s Little Brother: Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Writing for Children and the Politics of Poverty
- History in Fiction: Contextualization as Interpretation in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped
- Tom Sawyer, Audience, and American Indians
- Living with the Kings: Class, Taste, and Family Formation in Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
- A Daughter of the House: Discourses of Adoption in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
- Where in America Are You, God?: Judy Blume, Margaret Simon, and American National Identity
- Let Freedom Ring: Land, Liberty, Literacy, and Lore in Mildred Taylor’s Logan Family Novels
- “What Are Young People to Think?”: The Subject of Immigration and the Immigrant Subject in Francisco Jiménez’s The Circuit
- “My Book and Heart Shall Never Part”: Reading, Printing, and Circulation in the New England Primer
- Castaways: The Swiss Family Robinson, Child Bookmakers, and the Possibilities of Literary Flotsam
- Tom Brown and the Schoolboy Crush: Boyhood Desire, Hero Worship, and the Boys’ School Story
- Peter Pan as Children’s Theatre: The Issue of Audience
- Jade and the Tomboy Tradition
- Happily Ever After: Free to Be … You and Me, Second-Wave Feminism, and 1970s American Children’s Culture
- Paradise Refigured: Innocence and Experience in His Dark Materials
Abstract and Keywords
This article asks big questions about children's literature using Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) as case studies: how do “adult” and “child” readers make meanings from children's texts, and how is power exercised over those meanings? From the answers to these questions, it also seeks to discover whether the meaning of a “book for children” can be deduced. The two key factors in approaching a text are who the reader is and why she/he is reading the text; and the only thing that might be confidently stated is that the “adult” reader is more likely than the “child” reader to have a purpose other than personal gratification in reading the text. Because children are part of the critical and philosophical equation, working with children's books requires the kind of complexity, ambiguity, and flexibility that Carroll demonstrated in these densely woven masterpieces.
Peter Hunt was the first specialist in children’s literature to be appointed full Professor of English in a British University. He has written or edited twenty-four books, has written over 120 articles on the subject, and has edited The Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, and The Secret Garden for Oxford World’s Classics. In 2003 he won the Brothers Grimm Award for services to children’s literature from the International Institute for Children’s Literature, Osaka. His latest book is the four-volume Children’s Literature: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies (2006).
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