A must for children’s literature professionals and aficionados.



The celebrated children’s book author and illustrator reflects on writing and reading children’s literature from her long, unique perspective.

During her successful career, Babbitt (The Devil’s Storybooks, 2012, etc.), who died in 2016, earned a Newbery Honor Medal and the E.B. White Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters. This compilation of 18 chronologically arranged speeches and articles spans the years between 1970 and 2004. During this time, she describes herself as a “little dog” barking with the “big dogs” of the adult literary world who routinely relegate children’s literature to a lesser status. Babbitt suggests that the “tangible difference” between adult and children’s literature resides in the latter’s “Happy Ending,” and she refutes the “widespread American belief that children are irrelevant.” Writing in 1973, she condemns American children’s novels as “patently artificial” and “sweet beyond bearing,” urging writers to reflect on what we have “in common with the rest of the world.” She visits and revisits the universal pattern of what Joseph Campbell called the “separation, adventure, and return” path common in children’s fantasy (including her own). A children’s story “doesn’t deny the dark; it simply reaffirms the light.” Wary of those who would use children’s fiction to teach social responsibility, Babbitt adamantly asserts that the purpose of reading stories is to give children pleasure. Aware of her own aging, she peppers her later essays with amusing autobiographical anecdotes, recalled vividly and fondly. Writing with passion and insight, the author’s voice remains direct, incisive, witty, and true as she draws widely from the canon of children’s and adult literature. While some of her observations may be dated, most remain relevant as she astutely holds fast to the importance of giving children honest, hopeful, and entertaining stories in a changing world.

A must for children’s literature professionals and aficionados.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-31040-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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