- Editors’ Introduction
This issue features six articles that examine children's and adolescent literature from a wide range of critical perspectives. Suman Gupta provides an historical overview of the institutionalization and professionalization of the scholarly study of children's literature. The joint article by Bettina Kümmerling-Meibuer and Jörg Meibuer, as well as Cat Yampbell's article, carefully examine visual aspects of texts designed for children and young adults. The Meibauers provide a detailed examination of illustrations that appear in early concept books for the youngest of readers, or more appropriately pre-readers. Yampbell shows how publishers carefully construct the covers of adolescent novels to appeal to their readers; she uses the multiple jacket covers of Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat as her example. Focusing on another aspect of teen fiction, teen romance, is the subject of Anne B. Thompson's essay in which she rereads the Tippy Parrish novels of Janet Lambert from the 1950s and situates them against Francine Pascal's "Sweet Valley" series. Noel Chevalier traces the political influences within J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series to William Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Sue Matheson explores Peter S. Beagle's cult fantasy novel The Last Unicorn as a self-reflexive symbolic narrative that is concerned with the regeneration of language as well as the process of psychic transformation. In addition to the wide diversity of topics, there is also a wide diversity among the contributors who submitted articles from Germany, England, Canada, as well as the United States. These are the sort of thought-provoking articles that The Lion and the Unicorn likes to publish, those which cause readers to reconsider their assumptions about texts.
In this issue, we are also pleased to announce that the first Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry is given to Marilyn Nelson's Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. The Johns Hopkins University Press provided a $500 honorarium as part of [End Page v] the award, which was presented during a ceremony at the Children's Literature Symposium at Simmons College in Boston in July 2005. The special feature essay, "It Could Be Verse," reviews the trends in children's poetry published in 2004. In addition to recognizing Fortune's Bones, the three judges also recommend additional Honor Books of children's poetry: Helen Frost's Spinning Through the Universe, JonArno Lawson's The Man in the Moon-Fixer's Mask, Walter Dean Myers's Here in Harlem, and Allan Wolf's New Found Land. We thank this year's judges: Richard Flynn, Kelly Hager, and Joseph T. Thomas, Jr., who carefully evaluated and selected these five outstanding books of poetry and wrote the essay. We also wish to thank the many publishers who submitted books to make this award possible.
In keeping with Suman Gupta's article on the professionalization of children's literature, we also wish to recognize the recent publication of The Norton Anthology of Children's Literature: The Traditions in English (2005). Norton anthologies have a special status in literary studies. We are pleased to acknowledge that the five editors of the Norton Anthology of Children's Literature have affiliations with Lion & Unicorn. Jack Zipes, a former editor of Lion & Unicorn, is the general editor of NACL. The four other editors include Lissa Paul, one of the current editors of Lion & Unicorn; Lynne Vallone, a current member of the Editorial Board; and Peter Hunt and Gillian Avery, who have previously served on the Editorial Board.