English | Children's Literature
L390 | 2228 | Hedin

L390 2228 HEDIN
Children’s Literature

10:10a- 11:00a MW (143) 3 CR.

2229 8:00a-8:50a F (25)
2230 9:05a-9:55a F (25)
2231 10:10a-11:00a F (25)
2232 11:15a-12:05p F (25)
2233 12:20p-1:10p F (25)
2234 1:25p-2:15p F (25)

This course will focus on children's stories, ranging from fairy
tales to contemporary fiction, television, and film.  The course
will emphasize the ways in which stories express and give shape to
basic wishes and basic fears.  We will also emphasize the strategies
by which stories either convey or subvert prevalent cultural
values.  We will address such questions as: why do stories fascinate
children (and others)?  What is the relationship between the
structure of stories and the emotions and values they convey?  How
does children’s literature address central issues such as the
relationship of adults to children, the ambiguities of growing up,
and the experience of death?  To what extent are stories gender-
coded (and how might we respond when they are)?  How has the notion
of childhood changed over time, and what do the changes imply
culturally? What is the role of magic and the imaginary in
children’s books and films? What should an adult (parent, educator)
do about a children's story whose values are different from his or
her own?  Why is the analysis of a children’s story a useful adult

These issues will not be addressed in the abstract, but in the
context of discussing specific, influential children's stories.

The class will meet twice a week in lecture and once a week in
discussion sections.  Films will be shown on Monday nights at 7:00.
Students will be expected to have read the assigned material by the
first day on which it is considered in lecture; quizzes will be
given periodically.  Students will also write two essays, a mid-term
and a final exam.  The first paper will be an analysis of an
individual book or film.  The second (6-8 pages) will a
consideration of a genre, author, or series of children’s books -
e.g., children’s picture books; the works of Beverly Cleary, Judy
Blume, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss or other writers; film adaptations
of children’s books; Disney movies. (These are examples; specific
topics for both papers should be negotiated with your A.I.)

Attendance is expected in both lecture and discussion sections.
Specific policies regarding grading, late papers, quizzes,
attendance, essay possibilities and requirements, and plagiarism
will be set out in discussion sections.

Course Materials (Tentative):

selected fairy tales (in packet)
Beauty and the Beast (Disney film)
Mother Goose and The Christian Mother Goose (overhead)
Stevenson, Treasure Island
Barrie, Peter Pan (the play)
Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (overhead; available on the web)
Graham, The Wind in the Willows
Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends (overhead)
Lobel, Frog and Toad Together (overhead)
Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
The Wizard of Oz (film)
White, Charlotte’s Web
Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat and other works (overhead)
Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia
Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Blume, Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing
School House Rock: American History (video)
Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
Paulsen, Nightjohn
Shrek (film)
Tolkien, The Hobbit
Rawling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone