- 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 <i>Frog and Toad Together</i> 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
- <i>Tom Sawyer</i>, 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
- <i>Jade</i> 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 provides a model of how to analyze picture books. Situating the discussion of Wanda Gág's iconic Millions of Cats (1928) it demonstrates ways in which Gág's use of folk motifs speaks to the tension between atavism and industrial capitalism at the heart of modernist cultural production. This book was a fitting breakthrough effort for Gág as a popular artist and visual–verbal storyteller. It is a modernist folktale and a text that formally and thematically influenced the twentieth-century picture books which followed. Its rustic setting—the cottage of the generic “very old” couple, a verdant summer landscape of leafy trees and cumulus clouds, and not a skyscraper or machine in sight—nods to Old World landscapes and fairy tales familiar to many transatlantic immigrants. In addition, it imitates an often-retold folktale of an earlier century, even though it is of twentieth-century vintage.
Nathalie Op De Beeck is Associate Professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University, where she directs the program in children’s literature. She writes on graphic narrative, and her projects include a critical facsimile edition of Mary Liddell’s 1926 picture book, Little Machinery.
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