English | Children's Literature
L390 | 6827 | Ray Hedin

Ray Hedin

6827 – 11:15a-12:05p MW (120 students) 3 cr. A&H.

6828 – 1:25p-2:15p F (20 students)
6829 – 12:20p-1:10p F (20 students)
10589 – 11:15a-12:05p F (20 students)
10590 – 1:25p-2:15p F (20 students)
10591 – 12:20p-1:10p F (20 students)
10592 – 11:15a-12:05p F (20 students)

This course will focus on children's stories, ranging from fairy
tales to contemporary fiction, television, and film.  It will
emphasize the ways in which stories express and give shape to basic
wishes and basis 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.  Students will be expected to have read the
assigned material or to have viewed the assigned film by the first
day on which it is considered in lecture. Students will also write
two essays, a mid-term and final exam, and occasional quizzes or
response papers.

Course Materials (Tentative and Incomplete):

selected fairy tales
Beauty and the Beast (Disney film)
Mother Goose and The Christian Mother Goose
Barrie, Peter Pan (the play)
Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Graham, The Wind in the Willows
Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends
Lobel, Frog and Toad Together
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
Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shrek (film)
Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone