Barnaby Fan Club

In a tribute to the Barnaby fan clubs of the 1940s, Del Rey created its own “Barnaby International Fan Club” — or, at least, the laminated plastic card announcing such a club — to promote the six Barnaby volumes it published in 1985 and 1986.  Here’s the front of the card: Here’s the  back: Del…

Wintertime for the Arts?

As we celebrate the birthdays of Mozart (255th) and Lewis Carroll (179th) amidst threatened cuts to arts funding, we might re-read Yuko Takao’s A Winter Concert (1995; English translation, 1997).  Rendered in thin dark lines on a white background, mice walk to a concert.  As the pianist begins to play, colored pointillist shapes rise from…

Crockett Johnson on humor

This appears in the 1969 catalogue for Weston Woods Studios. As far as I know, Crockett Johnson said these words on no other occasion. He did, in 1943, tell journalist Charles Fisher, “I don’t draw or write Barnaby for children. People who write for children usually write down to them. I don’t believe in that”…

Angry Birds Theme (and Variations)

If you’ve played the Rovio game Angry Birds for any length of time, you’ll know Ari Pulkkinen‘s catchy theme. Indeed, the music is almost as addictive as the game — as some of these cover versions indicate. The Genevieve Trio‘s performance brings out a certain olde-worlde-folk-music quality that I really like. Accordion, upright bass (not pictured),…

Winnie-the-Pooh and Baby Monkeys, Too!

What does this 4-minute video tell you about this child’s experience of children’s books?  She offers an inventive retelling of A. A. Milne‘s The House at Pooh Corner, starring Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, and… baby monkeys.  I posed this question to all three of my classes as the first electronic message board post of the term.  Here’s my…

Back-to-School Special, Part I: Children’s Literature & Asymptotes

In my decade of teaching Children’s Literature at the university level, I’ve learned a lot.  But I never feel that I’ve learned quite enough to teach the grad class Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature.  I’m grateful that I’m teaching it now and not ten years ago, but it’s one of those courses that makes me…

Get on that pig, and hold on tight.

With a hectic new semester about to begin (or, for many of us, already begun) and our new governor’s proposed assault on some of Kansas’ most vulnerable citizens, let us seek solace — and inspiration — in the verse of our greatest living YouTube poet, Parry Gripp.  As he counsels, when The world has gone…

How to Publish Your Article

The sequel (or prequel?) to “How to Publish Your Book,” here’s something else they don’t always teach you in graduate school.  As in that earlier post, this is what has worked for me.  Results may vary. Please note: the advice below derives from my experience as an English professor who specializes in children’s literature.  This…