Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Doolittle:
“John Doolittle’s friends are convincing because their creator never forces them to desert their own characteristics…..when Mr. Lofting invents fantastic animals he gives them a kind of credible possibility which is extraordinarily convincing.”
Lofting did better with the animals then he did with the depictions of the “Africans.” Inconsistencies like woods vs. jungle vs. forest shows that it was ok not to give a place/people “their own characteristics.” White is capitalized, black is lowercase…How does humor further obscure the racism and sexism, colorism drenched in this book? Woods makes me think of American South, jungle “Africa,” and forest England. So amazed that this was actually a children’s book…it was…. “riveting” to read, very entertaining and everything soured when they arrived in “Africa”, the “country”. Everything wrong with the world is in this book!
Sara L. Schwebel and Jocelyn Van Tuyl, “The Newbery Medal is 100. It’s Smuggled Some Real Duds Onto Our Library Shelves” (January 22nd, 2022):
“… there is a common misconception that childhood itself is universal and static.” I think publishers/gatekeepers are being called out for this and as they have tried to make an effort to improve while at the same time keeping their bottom line. This article asks the time-old questions about if, when and how to let go. But can the driving forces behind these books, money/capitalism ever concede? How much and for how long can creative independents light a way for the possibilities while with or without a business model? I think the critical question needs to be asked again and again, what is really being saved and valued here besides nostalgia and a monolithic American value? And who gets centered and de-centered in the process?
John Clement Ball, “Max’s Colonial Fantasy: Rereading Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are,” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 28.1 (January 1997): 167-179.
“Destructive force into narrative energy” “achieves a healthy identify” (Ball, p. 167/168) What are tools contemporary children readers and adult gatekeepers need to unveil any underlying white supremacist patterns under the guise or construction of creating a healthy identity? What if Max had gone to a place like Siberia? Would Max ever imagine that for himself? Who owns the fantasy?