"The book is illuminating whenever it deals with the broad cultural contexts of children’s literature. . . . Poetics of Children’s Literature demands, and deserves, thoughtful attention and response."
"A landmark piece of scholarship which, through its reconciliation of more traditional and historical models with recent developments in the area of semiotics, initiates a new stage of research in children’s literature. . . . [It] will undoubtedly come to be considered a seminal piece of research in this field."
Shavit analyzes the conventions and the moral aims that have structured children’s literature, from the fairy tales collected and reworked by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm—in particular, “Little Red Riding Hood”—through the complex manipulations of Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, to the subversion of the genre’s canonical requirements in the chapbooks of the eighteenth century, and in the formulaic Nancy Drew books of the twentiethth century. Throughout her study Shavit, explores not only how society has shaped children’s literature, but also how society has been reflected in the literary works it produces for its children.
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