Boys And Girls Forever (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 2004
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Boys and Girls Forever examines several children's authors and their backgrounds, the stories they popularized, and their characters. Lurie also examines fairy stories, poetry, children's games, and illustrations. Unlike Don't Tell the Grownups, Boys and Girls forever is weakly written and disorganized. Lurie occasionally gives overviews of the author's works (juvenile and adult) and sometimes gives in-depth histories of the authors, but without the same intrigue she managed in her previous book. She continues to have glaring omissions in the authors she considers (still not Twain, Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, Judy Blume, EB White). But even the ones she includes are desperatly lacking. Her essay on Dr. Seuss is one of the weakest I've read. She approached the authors in her last book with the same kind of passion children approach their works with. The only one she came even close to doing this with was Frank Baum. But her Dr. Seuss piece felt like filler. Actually, most of the book felt like filler. There's no common thread for the stories of these authors. I thought she was going to discuss the child-like mind these authors had to have, but she only rarely shoves in some mention of their minds as she writes.
The last chapters not about a certain author were weak, felt tacked on, and didn't continue any theme. It's as if she got a call from her editor and was told she needed more chapters and she knew she wasn't going to write another book on children's lit, so she threw in something weak about play, pictures, and fairy tales. It weakened her theme irreparably. Furthermore, her books would greatly benefit from illustrations-she loosely describes images from books, especially picture books, but without a familiarity of the actual work, her descriptions are not sufficient enough for the reader to visualize the pictures.
This book seemed cobbled together and less impassioned than Don't Tell the Grownups. If Don't Tell the Grown-Ups was Lurie's final term paper, Boys and Girls Forever was the grade she knew the professor was going to drop. She needed to find a theme and stick to it.
One of the chapters about which i was most conflicted was the one dealing with illustrations. Lurie acknowledges that it would be disingenous to expect fairy tales without pictures. However, images steal away from the imagination development that kids would enjoy otherwise. I read a fairytale a million years ago, where the princesses wore dresses "the color of time". I vividly remember the internal debate i had in my head trying to decide what color time would be (i settled on pearl grey). Pictures would not have given me that mental gymnastics. In a sense, i believe that fantasy is like gymnastics for the mind of a little one. Reality is what you see every day. Fantasy is what you need to come to terms as you grow up. To carry on a mental fight trying to reconcile what is real and what is fiction is a valuable exercise for a developing mind. And besides, adults are always available for "reality checks".
The book also has chapters on a few authors with whom I have no acquaintance but whose work I might be interested in checking out someday, as well as several interesting essays on subjects such as playground lore, illustrators of children's books, and poetry by and for children.