Recently over at Slate, Gabriel Roth made a very good argument for the basic awfulness of Janette Sebring Lowrey’s The Poky Little Puppy, postulating that the only reason that book and books like it persist in our cultural consciousness is because of the nostalgia effect — my mom read this to me, so I’d better read it to my kids, etc. But there is another way! Why not replace some of those canonical (but actually boring, or lame, or morally questionable) kids’ books with some better ones, and stop the nostalgia cycle in its tracks? To that end, please find below a list of canonical children’s books that could be retired, and which books, new and old, to read… Read More
It’s probably safe to say that media tends to refer to itself, in one way or another — and referring to literature, as opposed to other forms of pop culture, is one way to make just about anything a little more highbrow. Television, notoriously full of references and allusions, might be the worst/best culprit, and the most fun to hunt through for literary moments — after all, nothing’s more fun than seeing books on the boob tube. Here, you’ll find 50 of the greatest and most memorable literary allusions, shout-outs, cameos, and references on television, as well as real-life author appearances and whole episodes, or even whole seasons, based on… Read More
Amazon’s editors released their picks for “100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime” this week. While no one’s knocking Babar or Harry Potter, the list felt like it was missing some of our favorite strain of children’s lit: the creepy kind. Although a few notable exceptions — Coraline, Where the Wild Things Are — certainly raise the hair on young readers’ necks, we were nonetheless inspired to put together our favorite children’s lit that’s more macabre than Mr. Popper’s Penguins.… Read More
True Story, Bravest Warriors, and Adventure Time illustrator Mike Holmes drew himself and his lovely cat, Ella, in the style of 100 different artists. Filmmaker and artist Johnny Zito introduced us to Holmes’ series. The Canada-based artist pays homage to some classic creators — Calvin and Hobbes’ Bill Watterson, Where the Wild Things Are’s Maurice Sendak, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas‘ Dr. Seuss included. Contemporary artists also get props, and Holmes’ gender-swapped portrait, a nod to Jess Fink’s valentine fun project, is an excellent addition. See who got Mike Holmes’d, below.
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Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend. Sendak’s tale about a young boy whose imagination transports him to a land full of “wild things” was an early, rare portrait of the dark emotions children learn to cope with. “If I’ve done anything, I’ve had kids express themselves as they are, impolitely, lovingly… they don’t mean any harm. They just don’t know what the right way is,” Sendak said of the book in a 2004 interview. The many monsters in children’s literature have helped young readers face their fears, empowering them — and in some cases, frightening them to tears. Here are 13 of the greatest… Read More
According to a new study, the hallowed practice of bedtime reading is falling by the wayside — and that some quarter of a million children in the UK do not own a single book. This is a terrible shame, as regular bedtime stories have been shown to increase children’s performance in school, and are also awesome and can help create strong lifetime bonds, both with literature and with parents. So, from the peanut gallery of those who loved being read to (and still wouldn’t say no to a bedtime story): 50 books that every parent should read to their… Read More
As you’ve probably heard, the venerable, wonderful James Gandolfini passed away yesterday in Rome. If the sad tidings have you… Read More
The thing about reading is this: it takes a long time. There are innumerable books in the world, and many more good ones than can be read by any mortal in a lifetime. It’s hard to choose — especially if you’re a slow reader. So, to go along with the list of the best albums from 1963-2013, here you will find a single must-read book from each of the last 50… Read More
On the occasion of what would have been Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday, PBS Digital Studios has released their latest installment… Read More
Maurice Sendak, literature’s deeply passionate curmudgeon, whose grumpiness was matched by a warm and tender spirit, left a “wild” legacy of best-selling books, beautiful illustrations, and words that forever touched his readers, young and old. The author’s birthday is tomorrow. We wanted to celebrate Sendak’s life by revisiting some of his greatest and most fascinating interviews. His candidness, sincerity, and humor will never be forgotten.
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