Synopses & Reviews
Secret lives, scandalous turns, and some very funny surprises — these essays by leading kids lit bloggers take us behind the scenes of many much-loved childrens books.
Did Laura Ingalls cross paths with a band of mass murderers? Why was a Garth Williams bunny tale dubbed "integrationist propaganda"? For adults who are curious about childrens books and their creators, here are the little-known stories behind the stories. A treasure trove of information for a student, librarian, new parent, or anyone wondering about the post-Harry Potter book biz, Wild Things! draws on the combined knowledge and research of three respected and popular librarian-bloggers. Told in affectionate and lively prose, with numerous never-before-collected anecdotes, this book chronicles some of the feuds and fights, errors and secret messages found in childrens books and brings contemporary illumination to the warm-and-fuzzy bunny world we think we know.
"Three children's book specialists gleefully shred the 'romanticized image' of children's authors, illustrators, and editors, slinging behind-the-scenes lore, recalling censorship controversies, and profiling innovators like Maurice Sendak, Ursula Nordstrom, Roald Dahl, and others who eschew cutesiness. They seek out insider gossip and archival snippets, referencing the testy relationship between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, the fate of Make Way for Ducklings' real-life ducks, and Richard Scarry's gender-inclusive revisions to his oeuvre; a thoughtful chapter explores LGBT 'icons' of children's books. Their discussion of Struwwelpeter's violence includes a list of 'Recent Books in Which the Protagonist Gets Eaten,' and a cranky section plunders chestnuts like Love You Forever ('Kids hate 'em, critics hate 'em, but adults wuv them'). Their publishing history including accounts of the Stratemeyer Syndicate's heyday, today's YA boom is familiar from scholarship like Leonard S. Marcus's Minders of Make-Believe, though the coauthors use a snarky, conversational tone. Indeed, nonstop quips sometimes undermine the book's mission against 'the Ã¢Â€Â˜fluffy bunny' mentality.' Approached as an appetizer rather than a complete history, this chatty volume sheds light on children's literature's household names. Ages 14 up. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
is the youth materials collections specialist for the New York Public Library and the author of Giant Dance Party,
illustrated by Brandon Dorman. In addition to writing for The Horn Book
magazine, she is the creator of the blog A Fuse #8 Production
Julie Danielson is a regular contributor to Kirkus Reviews, and in her blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, she has featured and/or interviewed hundreds of top names in picture books. Julie Danielson lives in Tennessee.
Peter D. Sieruta (1958-2012) was an author, book critic, and frequent reviewer for The Horn Book magazine. His blog, Collecting Childrens Books, served as inspiration for his contributions to Wild Things!