Text for children are less thoughtful because children are less intelligent.Of course she sets these claims up to demolish them. I sort of see where she's coming from, but these still strike me as strawman shibboleths. Has anybody not obviously a dunderhead ever actually believed anything so foolish as these statements? I doubt it.
Art for children is less fine because children are less observant. Illustrations for children reiterate texts and decorate pages, playing negligible roles in the storytelling.
If a book is short, it is simple.
‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]
‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.
There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.
Tuesday 11 February 2014
Amy Sonheim ['Sendak's Sustainable Art', PMLA 129:.1 (Jan 2014), 116] says that when she began studying children's literature at grad school 'I did not know how to read a picture book.' Why not? 'I could not appreciate a picture book because I had internalized the following shibboleths, which stack children's books below adult ones':