10 Great Rock Songs for Kids

OK Go!  They Might Be Giants!  Joel Plaskett!  Elvis Costello!  R.E.M.!  Stevie Wonder!  Lots of musicians have recorded songs for children — either lyrically revised versions of one of their tunes, or entirely new ones.  Here are 10 great ones. OK Go, “3 Primary Colors Song” “3 Primary Colors Song” is just out from OK…

Crockett Johnson for the American Cancer Society, 1958

Courtesy of Mark Newgarden, it’s Crockett Johnson advising you to get a check-up so that you don’t get cancer.  Johnson created this 1958 pamphlet for the American Cancer Society, and I strongly suspect that he designed it, too.  (Clicking on each image will produce a larger version.) Unfold to the left, and see: Next, unfold…

Congratulations, Caldecott Losers!

In terms of number of Caldecott Medals won, you are now tied with Dr. Seuss.  And Crockett Johnson.  And Wanda Gág, Eric Carle, Esphyr Slobodkina, James Marshall, Donald Crews, Jon Agee, Tim Egan, Peter Sís, Lane Smith, Barbara Lehman, Mo Willems, Lois Ehlert, Leo Lionni, and H.A. Rey.  None of them won the Caldecott Medal,…

Harold and the School Mural

Harold taks his purple crayon to the walls of the Ben Franklin School, on Flax Hill, in Norwalk, Connecticut.  The school houses the Head Start program.  I’m told that the mural was painted by employees of Pepperidge Farm. The photos are all courtesy of Jackie Curtis, a friend of Ruth and Dave — a.k.a. Ruth Krauss…

Dr. Seuss on “conditioned laughter,” racist humor, and why adults are “obsolete children”

In 1952, Dr. Seuss published an essay in which he pointedly critiqued racist humor. True, his own work — both before and after then — did contain stereotypes. In an essay that’s been languishing at American Quarterly since August 2010, I examine the conflict between Seuss’s progressive impulses and a visual imagination steeped in early…

Seussology

I’m doing it again — teaching an entire course devoted to Dr. Seuss (the link in this sentence takes you to the current draft of the syllabus).  Art!  Politics!  Verse!  Nonsense!  Activism!  These are but some of the subjects we’ll explore in English 710: Dr. Seuss, a graduate-level course which begins on Wednesday. Aiming to…

Make Way for Boston: Children’s Literature and New England. CALL FOR PAPERS. Due: 15 Mar. 2012

The beginnings of children’s literature in America predate the nation, but not the region. In 1686, the publication of the New England Primer heralded a centuries-long tradition of books for children and young people written in, on, and around New England. These works show that constructions of places and people are not wholly separate processes;…

Emily’s Library, Part 2: Wordless Picture Books

As mentioned in Emily’s Library, Part 1, one reason for including these is that they’re multi-lingual, but another is that they’re compelling works of narrative art. They highlight art’s centrality to the picture book itself.  To restate what I noted in yesterday’s post, art is so central to the picture book that, as part of…