Tuesday, August 10, 2010

11th August Enid Blyton (1897 - 1968) Don Freeman (1908 - 1978) Joanna Cole (1944) Steven Kroll

Enid Blyton is the author of series of books, such as The Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five and Secret Seven. These series remain popular with young readers because in them, children have their own successful adventures with minimal adult intervention. The books are products of their time and thus they present the British class system and negative stereotypes, for gender in particular, leading to much criticism and labels such as 'sexist'. I agree that Blyton's dialogue is unnatural, that the vocabulary and the plots repetitive, but the ideas, especially in the fantasy worlds of The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair still excite the young readers who frequent my library.

Don Freeman was a cartoonist, author and illustrator of more than twenty books, but he is best known by young children because of their love of his book Corduroy. This book certainly looks old-fashioned now, but once you read it to children or show them the animated version, there is a rush to borrow the book and revisit with that bear with corduroy overalls and only one button.

Joanna Cole is well-known as the author of The Magic School Bus books, a series of books that is very popular with children as books, DVDs and computer software. This series introduces children to science in a fun way through its amazing teacher, Ms Frizzle. Joanna Cole loved science as a child..."I always enjoyed explaining things and writing reports for school. I had a teacher who was a little like Ms Frizzle. She loved her subject. Every week she had a child do an experiment in front of the room and I wanted to be that child every week." After school she became a teacher, a librarian and a book editor before becoming a writer that combined these roles with her love of science.

Steven Kroll is an American children's author who has written a large number of books. Many of his picture books have mice as the main characters and feature the 'biggest' something, be it pumpkin, Easter basket, Christmas tree or snowman!

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