If the works of men like Clemens and Stevenson say anything at all to modern writers, it is that the author must write about and for the children he knows, for it is these children alone that he is able to love and respect; it is these children alone who are alive and unique, who are flesh and blood, and therefore who are able to come alive again in print. W. H. Hudson wrote for the little boy he knew best--himself as a child. But, since he was no ordinary boy, his book perhaps will not appeal to ordinary boys, nor should this be expected of it. A book, especially a book for children, should be judged not by the number of readers attracted to it, but by the quality of experience enjoyed by those readers who are attracted to it, however small the number may be."A book, especially a book for children, should be judged not by the number of readers attracted to it, but by the quality of experience enjoyed by those readers who are attracted to it, however small the number may be." Wow. No doubt he's an idealist, but I agree completely.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I've been reading this great little book I stumbled across at the library. It's so full of gems I could easily quote the whole book to you. Beyond Words: Mystical Fancy in Children's Literatureby James E. Higgins clearly takes children's literature seriously, especially books of "mystical fancy", books that take their reader beyond the physical world around him or her "in order to lay bare those realities which are imperceptible to the physical senses." He goes on to write about George MacDonald, W. H. Hudson, Antoine de Saint-Expery, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. It's a little book, but there's so much good stuff in it. Here's a sample: