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  • Dissertations of Note
  • Rachel Fordyce (bio)

Becton, Laura Stuart. "A Study of South Carolina Teachers' Knowledge and Application of Selected Children's Literature on American Indian Culture." Ph.D. diss. University of South Carolina, 2006. 238 pp. DAI 67:4458A.

Becton finds that "the dependence on traditional literature in the classroom will continue the cycle of teaching students that American Indians are mythical people and non-existent in today's world." She strongly believes that teachers need to expand their knowledge of children's literature, "reflect on their practices," and learn more about the literature that portrays American Indians authentically and accurately.

Booth, Catherine Mary. "Fairy Stars and the Mother Lode: Children as Aesthetic, Economic, and Sentimental Commodities in California Gold Rush Theatre." Ph.D. diss. University of California, Irvine, 2007. 260 pp. DAI 68:407A.

Booth examined many primary sources related to adult and child performers and their effect on popular culture in mining camps during the California gold rush. She found that these "actors, dancers, acrobats, equestrians, and singers" were identified with "civilization" and that they forged a strong link to the "European American notions of 'home.'" In addition, the dissertation examines "Victorian American cultural constructions and the disparity between the notion of the 'ideal child' and the lived experience of real children." In particular, she believes that the child actor "played a key role in California's transformation from crude anarchy to cultural gem."

Canamares Torrijos, Cristina. "Narrative Patterns for Early Readers." Dr. diss. Universidad de Castilla – La Mancha (Spain), 2006. 454 pp. DAI 68:A.1

Canamares Torrijos examined one hundred books for young readers in an attempt to define characteristics of the genre. Prominent characteristics are third-person narrative; a plot that contains simple representations of character and situation; a brief final outcome; an undefined time and place, usually in the past; "condensed style" and linear structure; and "repetitive structures and rhymes that help the young child make reading predictions." In addition, "the relationship between the verbal component of the narratives and the illustrations seems to be symmetrical."

Carter, Jeanne Noelle. "What Would Captain Underpants Do? A Literary Analysis of Children in School." Ph.D. diss. University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2006. 231 pp. DAI 67:2913A.

Via cultural studies and critical discourse analysis Carter looks at general trends in "the literary representation of school experience by analyzing popular children's literature," specifically the following series: Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and its sequels; Barbara Parker's Junie B. Jones; Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby; Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants; J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter; Andrew Clement's Frindle and subsequent books; C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia ; Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books; Betty McDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books; and Walter Dean Meyer's Monster series. She found books with female protagonists are frequently about relationships; male protagonists tend toward "power structures" and subversion; books that feature character building often have an "ethical context"; and much of the literature implied that "students value unrealistically committed teachers with no interests outside of the children. . . ." [End Page 257]

Chen, Chia-Heng. "I Love Piñata: The Story of a Book Loan Program in an Inner City Preschool." Ed.D. diss. University of Southern California, 2006. 281 pp. DAI 67:3705A.

Chen analyzes the book choices of preschool children and finds that they prefer "alphabet/number books and modern fantasy to realistic fiction, traditional fantasy, and informational books." She also notes that there is a "significant gap" between children's preferences and "parents' knowledge base and perceptions." Given a choice, children tend "to make independent book choice decisions, rather than going with consumer product tie-ins. . . ."

Chou, Wan-Hsiang. "The Strange Case of Disconnection: Co-Sleeping, Attachment, and the Imported Picture Books about Bedtime in Taiwan." Ph.D. diss. The Pennsylvania State University, 2007. 210 pp. DAI 68:1852A.

Chou points out that young children in the United States, at least as portrayed in picture books, sleep alone—unlike children in Taiwan. She compares that portrayal, via books that are translated into Taiwanese, with those of Taiwanese authors, focusing "on the portrayals of children's bedtime practice . . . and how fictional parents and...


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