Friday, October 15, 2010

16th October Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) Edward Ardizzone (1900 - 1979)

Two of the classics, one dying as the other is born! Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, poet and playwright, probably most famous for his play, The Importance of Being Earnest and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, but he is also the author of fairytales such as The Selfish Giant; The Happy Prince and The Star-Child, tales which definitely have social overtones and are very sad, so perhaps are more for adults, but they appear in many picture book versions and fairytale anthologies for children. Well-known illustrators Michael Foreman, Jane Ray and P.J.Lynch have all done versions. I find the easiest one to read to children is The Selfish Giant as it has such strong emotional pull and discussing the emotions and the themes of seasons, gardens and growth enable children to empathise with the giant.

Edward Ardizzone was born in Vietnam to parents who worked in Foreign Service, but by age five he was living in England and except for holidays abroad he continued to live, write and illustrate in England. He is best known for his wonderful stories about Tim and his adventures at sea. This series of eleven books began in 1936 with Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain and he wrote the last one, Ship's Cook Ginger in 1977. The opening sentences in the first book, "Little Tim lived in a house by the sea. He wanted very much to be a sailor", set the scene for this series of adventure stories where Tim stows aboard a ship and gets his wish. The books have a wry sense of humour, gentle comic ilustrations and still appeal to children today once you get them hooked, especially as parents play only a very small part in the stories. His Tim All Alone won the first Kate Greenaway Medal in 1956.

Ardizzone also illustrated the Nurse Matilda books which were written by Christianna Brand.

For those of you who like to listen to classic stories, Stephen Fry has recorded both of these authors. There is The Little Tim Collection read by Stephen Fry and Stephen Fry Presents Children's Stories by Oscar Wilde.

No comments:

Post a Comment