- 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 discusses the formal similarities and distinctions between comic strips and narrative children's books, exploring the historical development of the “comic strip child,” especially in the context of the Peanuts strip (1950–2000). Charles M. Schulz's vision and aesthetic in Peanuts were fundamental to the construction of childhood in the postwar era. Schulz's achievement offers an opportune way of undertaking that larger task. Some Peanuts gags revolve around the disparity between the kids' smallness and the overwhelming size of their surroundings. The Peanuts kids developed conflicted and believably complex personalities. Their concerns were genuine and relatable. What made Peanuts groundbreaking was its knowing, sometimes surprising revision of the comic-strip child, the fact that Schulz's “li'l folks” spoke for children and adults alike. Peanuts reached grown-ups through its recollections of childhood and reached children by recognizing the seriousness of their social and emotional lives.
Charles Hatfield teaches comics and children’s literature at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (2005) and the forthcoming Hand of Fire: The Narrative Art of Jack Kirby, and serves on the executive committee for the MLA Discussion Group in Comics and Graphic Narratives.
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