- Books Received
Maria Tatar collects and fully annotates about thirty fairy tales. Tatar, who is a professor of Germanic literature at Harvard University, features many of the German fairy tales originally collected on Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, but she also includes tales from France, Great Britain, Denmark, and several other European countries.
Francis Spufford is a British journalist who read voraciously during his childhood. In this memoir, he not only discusses the books that he loved as a child, but he also explores how these books helped him cope with the stresses of living with his seriously ill sister. Among the authors he covers are J.R.R. Tolkien, Jill Paton Walsh, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ursula K. Le Guin, and C.S. Lewis.
Most of the nineteen contributors to this collection are academics, but they represent several disciplines, including reading education, sociology, American studies, and comparative literature. The contributors draw on their various disciplinary backgrounds in their responses to the Harry Potter phenomenon. Their essays are organized into the following four sections: Cultural Studies Perspectives; Reader Response and Interpretive Perspectives; Literary Perspectives; and Critical and Sociology Perspectives. My favorite contributions are Maria Nikolajeva's "Harry Potter: A Return to the Romantic Hero" and Elizabeth Heilman's "Blue Wizards and Pink Witches: Representations of Gender Identity and Power."
Intended as a helpful companion for students who are reading The Lord of the Rings, Michael Stanton's book provides key background information about Tolkien's masterpiece of high fantasy. In the first half of his book, Stanton discusses the intricacies of Tolkien's various plots and subplots. In the second half, he analyzes the different kinds of characters found in Tolkien's trilogy. The book concludes with an essay about Peter Jackson's film version of The Fellowship of the Ring.
The first two editions of this popular textbook were written entirely by Perry Nodelman, but the third edition is co-authored by Nodelman and Mavis Reimer. Like the previous editions, this edition helps students understand many of the cultural and ideological assumptions that underlie children's literature. In addition to updating the contents of the book, Nodelman and Reimer include an expanded discussion of the various ways that literary theory can be applied to children's books.
In addition to discussing Burton's classic picture books, Barbara Elleman covers Burton's family life, her career as a dancer, and her contributions to Folly Cove Designers. The book includes family photographs, copies of sketches by Burton, and reproductions of some of her manuscripts.
Dennis Sumara provides an eloquent, well-informed, and passionate argument for making literature a central part of literacy education. Sumara devotes much of his book to explaining how reading works of literature can help young people form a sense of identity as well as help them understand the nature of collective identities. [End Page 228]