Friday, December 11, 2015

It's in a Children's Book, so It Must Be Funny— Right?

In a world of adorable, hug-inducing, warm-butterfly-feelings children’s books, there’s the occasional shadow hanging around at the edges of all that light, reminding us to come to the ghoulish side instead. There was a time between the 70’s to the early 90’s, when fiction for children and young adults was all about social realism. Gothic tropes never truly went out of style, and in the world of children’s literature — whether or not Gothic tropes are meant for younger audiences is an often-debated topic — kids are picking up horror and dark humor stories now more and more.

And for those of you that have been missing Edward Gorey’s sly humor, we have just the perfect book for you. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen teamed up to create Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs, a book of ironic and witty last moments in the lives of a variety of animals. Readers will be reminded especially of Gorey’s famous abecedarian The Gashlycrumb Tinies, where young children meet their untimely deaths in gruesome, yet alphabetically educating, ways — complete with whimsical illustrations by Edward Gorey himself.

Last Laughs is grouped by animal type, starting with a slew of fowl and other farm animals  — who meet their unfortunate deaths with a head butt or cream-ation — to our aquatic favorites, such as the poor Narwhal, and even a few insects at the end (though whether or not we feel sorry for them is debatable). While it is not an ABC book, there is no doubt children of all ages will be drawn to its frightening premise and to its gruesomeness and ghoulishness. Neil Gaiman himself argues, “I think horror has always been integral to children’s fiction. Look at Hansel and Gretel. Fiction teaches kids how to survive in the world.”

The illustrations by Jeffery Stewart Timmins are vastly from different from Gorey’s. Whereas Edward Gorey was refined and very tongue-in-cheek macabre with his black and white illustrations, Timmins’s are more of the slapstick variety in tones of browns, blacks, and sickly yellows, with creatures that meet their ends in more silly ways. The wordplay in the epitaphs makes death a slightly ridiculous notion and even a little bit fun. One of my personal favorites is:

Ciao, Cow”
This grave is peaceful,
The tombstone shaded,
but I’m not here—

I’ve been cream-ated. 

  • Knight, Linsay. "Why Kids Love Scary Stories." Randomhouse. n.p., Web. 10 December 2015.
  • Lewis, J Patrick, and Yolen, Jane. Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs. Watertown: Charlesbridge. 2012. Print.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I See London I See France, I See No Ones Underpants- Musings Inspired by Dr. Joseph T. Thomas

Everyone remembers those fun rhyming songs from the playground that were silly and almost wrong to say in front of adults. Like “Ms. Susie Had a Steamboat” and that part when she, wait, was it sat on a piece of glass? It’s funny to think that many of us have these songs stored away in our own childhood minds.

In Poetry's Playground: The Culture of Contemporary American Children's Poetry by Dr. Joseph T. Thomas, the idea arises that potty words are so much more than that—begging the question: where does The Adventures of Captain Underpants lie in all this?

In his prologue, Thomas discusses the ideas of laughter in reference to Bakhtin’s theories behind what makes Carnival so magical. He states that there are two types of laughter. One type would represent the lying, fake, and deceiving laughter that is tied to judgment, done out of fear or habit. The other type would be this free spirit and not-judged laughter that is allowed in this exclusive space of Carnival (11).  

Going back to those fun yet “gross” playground rhymes that children sing only to one another links a mechanism to avoid punishment from the adults—a space where laughter can really be seen as the childhood experience suppressed and hidden away from the adult world. Since free laughter, or “carnival laughter,” comes in when ideological forces are at bay, it creates its own images and symbols away from the rational and structured “real” world (11). However, this idea of free laughter is restricted to spaces where everyone enjoys a sense of non-judgment, which is perhaps what makes the child reader so curious and enthralled by The Adventures of Captain Underpants.

Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, The Adventures of Captain Underpants is a series about two fourth graders that live in a very Carnivalesque world, filled with words like poopie pants, great granny girdle, and turbo toilet. Here it appears that there is a sort of satire that exists in a place where kids are encouraged to read and are also allowed to read “naughty” things that shouldn’t be said in the adult world. 

But, as Bakhtin brings up, satirical laughter might actually have negative connotations that come along with it (12). Since children express themselves and learn to read through these funny words, they must still learn when and where adults will find these potty topics appropriate and when not.  Children, perhaps unknowing of what they are really saying, will experience a time where they may say, “You’re a poopie pants,” in the wrong place and feel an embarrassment that comes with it. Here is where a satirical laughter is used—a way that allows passage into the “mature world.” So then Professor Pippy P. Poopypants can adultly be equated to those who brown nose to get people to do what they want—adult appropriate humor.
When we really think about it, containing the Carnivalesque to a space of free expression only allowed at Halloween, Marti Gras, Pride, and Disneyland, suggests that adults feel compelled to still experience things that are deemed childish and grotesque. Like The Adventures of Captain Underpants, these children’s playground rhymes may display grossness, but on the other hand, seem to be a symbol of free expression before judgment and suppression take over that adults swoon over.

Poetry's Playground: The Culture of Contemporary American Children's Poetry. Wayne State University Press: Landscapes of Childhood Series, 2007.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Finally Saying Thank You: A Brief Look At The Giving Tree and Shel Silverstein's Work


In observation of the upcoming holiday spirit that must be a daunting figure in our lives, it seems appropriate to bring up a children’s book that is all about being thankful (wait… is it?)—it’s called The Giving Tree.

(If anyone finds themself unfamiliar with this story, here is a brief synopsis: One upon a time there was a boy who was best friends with a tree, and although trees do not talk, this one sure did. From childhood, the boy grew up playing with the tree, but as the boy grew, he came to visit less, and the tree stayed (as most trees usually stay in one place), always waiting for the boy. The boy would return to the tree, taking pieces that it willingly gave to the boy to help him become a man. Until one day the boy gets old, and all that is left of the tree is her stump, and he sits on the stump without ever saying “thank you.”)

Not only is this book an interesting topic to consider with Thanksgiving right around the corner and reminding us of what we feel gratitude for in certain aspects of our lives, but the NCSCL’s very own Dr. Joseph T. Thomas has a forthcoming book from Make Now Press entitled Shel Silverstein, The Devil's Favorite Pet, which we are anticipating with great earnestness (like a kid on that “one day”).

The Giving Tree, by Silverstein, is a book that lives on the shelves in many households today. And while children seem to still be captured by the pictures and words on the pages, parents reading it to their children today often feel a sense of nostalgia, because it is a book that lives within their own childhoods. However, as much of Dr. Thomas’s work teaches us, Silverstein was much more than just a simple children’s author. In his article, “A Speculative Account (with Notes) of the Development and Initial Deployments of Shel Silverstein’s Persona, Uncle Shelby, with Special Care to Articulate the Relationship of Said Persona to the Question of Shel’s Ambiguous Audience(s),” Thomas suggests that perhaps the children’s poet and author becomes more of a multi-faceted persona when we really discover all of his different types of accomplishments that might have not been as children’s author-y as he has made his name out to be. He was a songwriter, singer, poet, adult comic strip author, illustrator, and, of course, children’s author—the latter formed at his own hand (25). So with such careful attention to his establishment as a child’s book author, what’s with all the fuss over a book like The Giving Tree as anything less than a great children’s book…?

When looking into how this book is being talked about in current online media, one Huffington Post writer paints a vivid picture of how the book scarred her children when she read it to them in her article, “Thanks But No Thanks, Shel Silverstein” (April 2015). Nicole Jankowski writes about how her children went as far as to punch the picture of Silverstein on the back cover because they were traumatized and upset by the story. She even begins to question her own happy childhood memories with the book because of this carnivalesque reaction (a term used to describe children’s more crude and improper behavior when parents are away) of her own children right in front of her.

In another Huffington Post article, “Was The Giving Tree A Chump?” (April 2015), Robert Levy discusses the ridiculousness of parents who find issues with the book, and points out that a common theme of many current online blogs is that The Giving Tree should be kept out of children’s hands. In his article, Levy questions: “How could Silverstein's parable be misinterpreted as a straightforward tale extolling the virtues of selflessness and sacrifice? Does anyone really think Silverstein intended his readers to happily accept that the tree, reduced to a mere stump at the story's conclusion by the boy's relentless taking, should truly be pleased by the boy's actions, and that we should be as well?”

And while there are so many feelings that follow this book over the last 50 years of its publication, there are also a variety of interpretations that also follow it. Most common would be that the tree character is often suggested to be a representation of God, and so some believe that The Giving Tree holds a religious agenda that discretely asserts itself upon the reader. Others say it is a commentary on parenting and how a child will be the person that uses their parents all up, until they have nothing left. Another interpretation suggests that it is a sexist text that weaves a story where men are allowed to use women, since the tree is referred to as a “she.”

But what I find as the most interesting interpretation for the story is that it suggests a hidden commentary on the ways capitalism runs our society. The bond between Silverstein’s art and poetry and the public audience, may even provide an even more curious suggestion to the workings of this book.

And while these popular scenarios hold sad and problematic interpretations of this story, it is undeniable to ignore that it is still a popular story, and its author a topic of contemplation. Thomas notes, “Silverstein is often some- thing of a one-note poet. But we shouldn’t dismiss Silverstein out of hand, nor should we dismiss his aesthetic achievement. Shel’s here, and, rest his soul, he’s here to stay—or at least his poetry is—filling up bookstore shelf space, delighting young readers, and providing an easy target for academics” (Reappraising Uncle Shelby 283).

  • “Thanks But No Thanks, Shel Silverstein” by Nicole Jankowski
  • “Was The Giving Tree A Chump?” by Robert Levy
  • Joseph T. Thomas Jr. “A Speculative Account (with Notes) of the Development & Initial Deployments of Shel Silverstein's Persona, Uncle Shelby, with Special Care to Articulate the Relationship of Said Persona to the Question of Shel's Ambiguous Audience(s).” Children's Literature Association Quarterly. 36.1 (2011): 25-46.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Call for Papers and Upcoming Children's Literature Conferences

Whether you’re knee-deep or neck-deep in final projects or outlining your final papers during this busy semester, there’s always time for some literary scholarship (says the graduate student currently neck-deep in all things literature). To make things a little easier, we’ve gathered a list of future conference proposals and calls-for-papers that includes children’s literature topics. 

The Children’s Literature Society and the American Literature Association

Event: 27th Annual Conference
Dates: May 26-29, 2016
Location: The Hyatt Regency, San Francisco

Panel 1: Children’s Literature Adaptations: Musicals (both theatrical and film).

Children’s literature has had a long history of adaptation transformations—from early Shirley Temple films to comic books and most recently to musicals; e.g., Shrek, Wicked, Once Upon A Mattress, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Tarzan, Wizard of Oz/The Wiz, Hansel and Gretel, Into the Woods, Annie. This panel explores the ways musical adaptations of children’s texts change the original tale and are revelatory of changes in social/cultural considerations that include the changing dynamic of the construction of childhood, adults, and family.

  • Please include academic rank and affiliation, as well as AV requests.
  • Send abstracts or proposals (~300 words) by January 15, 2016 via email to: Dorothy Clark ( and Linda Salem (
Panel 2: Children’s Literature Adaptations—Part 2: Digital Transformations—From TV and Film to New Media

New media has entered the world of children’s literature adaptation in stunning ways. From video games to tablet and smartphone apps to YouTube videos and more, “story” is finding new formats and “reading” has gone from a passive immersive experience to a more interactive one. Multimodal storytelling—unique meshing of “old” media (e.g., print text, TV, film) with “new” media are transforming our understanding of adaptation, creating new formats, genres. This panel explores this new world of children’s literature adaptation, including a bit of the “old world” of media (print/television/film) as it also transforms to adapt to new media. In reflecting on this new world of adaptation, consider for example: What happens to the original story? How is narrative changing? What is the role of reader/writer? Does this new domain reflect changes in social-cultural understandings of childhood, adult, family?

  • Please include academic rank and affiliation, as well as AV requests.
  • Send abstracts or proposals (~250 words) by January 10, 2016 via email to: Dorothy Clark ( and Linda Salem (
Panel 3: “Humor and Children’s Literature”—Abstracts (300 words maximum) are encouraged on subjects addressing any aspect of humor in relation to children’s literature by an American author. Panel sponsored by the American Humor Studies Association and the Children’s Literature Society.

  • Please include academic rank and affiliation, as well as AV requests. 
  • Send abstracts or proposals (~300 words) by January 10, 2016 via email to: Dorothy Clark (, Linda Salem (, and Jim Caron ( with the subject line: “AHSA/CLS session, 2016 ALA.” 
For further information, please consult the ALA conference website at or contact the conference director, Professor Alfred Bendixen at with specific questions. 

~ ~ ~ 

CFP: The Intersection of Cartoons, Animation, and Youth Media: A Special Issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
“In connection with the upcoming 2016 ChLA conference on Animation, this special issue of ChLAQ will focus broadly and widely on the multimodal and ever-expanding medium known as youth animation. From children’s cartoon shorts such as Steamboat Willy (1928) and Leon Schlesinger’s Loony Tunes (1930–1969); to full-length animation motion pictures such as the work of Studio Ghibli, Pixar, and Nickelodeon; to Homestar Runner, video games, and flip books, if it’s sequential art pit into motion, it’s on the table for discussion.”

Deadline: November 1, 2016 

  • Papers should conform to the usual style of ChLAQ and be between 5,000–7,000 words in length. 
  • Queries and completed essays should be sent to Joseph Michael Sommers via email at with a re: line indicating “ChLAQ Essay) 
Notes: The selected articles will appear in ChLAQ in 2017. 

CFP: Reimagining the Child: Next Steps in the Study of Childhood(s)
Dates: April 22–23, 2016
Location: Camden, New Jersey

Description: Hosted by the Rutgers University – Camden Graduate Student Organization in Childhood Studies.
“The goal of this year’s graduate student conference is to bring together graduate students and other early-career scholars whose work represents a contribution to expanding academic understandings of and approaches to children and childhood. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: theorizations and discourses of childhood; representations of children in media; relationships between children and technology; considering children in approaches to human rights, ethics, and morality; children’s culture(s); children as social agents; etc.”

Deadline: December 20, 2015
  • Send an abstract (~300 words) to the conference chair, Julian Burton, via email at Include the words “conference abstract” in the subject line. 
  • Please include your name, current level of study, and affiliated institution in the body of your email. 
  • Attach your abstract as a separate document containing no personally identifying information. 

Good luck to everyone, on submissions, upcoming finals, and final papers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thank the Sandman For Your Nightmares

As winter approaches and the semester comes to a panicked frenzy, it is not uncommon to have a nightmare or two along the way. These may often consist of but not limited to: getting a C, D, or F on a paper that you don’t even remember writing, getting the wrong exam but then getting a panic attach because maybe it was you that didn’t study properly what was on the exam, walking into an exam and having no idea where the semester went, and (my favorite) walking into a classroom for the first time and realizing it is the last day of school and everyone is turning in beautifully stacked, thirty-page research papers.

While this tends to be a common occurrence among students, especially at the graduate level, if we lived in a time before we analyzed tales told out loud by the campfire, we would probably be familiar with the old folktale Ole Lukøje, or more commonly known as, the Sandman.

From what we now know of this mythical creature, from a wide variety of originating telling’s, it is the story of the master of dreams and nightmares—a Santa Claus of sorts. The tale usually involves Ole Lukøje coming to sleeping souls and standing over them, bestowing lovely dreams to those who are deemed worthy and nightmares for those who have behaved poorly.

As many folktales became methods of interpellation for children, this specific tale took a variety of forms and still can be seen as a way of scaring children into going to bed when told. Before Hans Christian Andersen published his children’s tale version, E. T. A. Hoffman published his own version in 1816. The difference between the two is drastic: with Hoffman including a Sandman who comes for naughty children and gouges a child’s eyeballs out if they are opened when they are supposed to be sleeping and the Andersen version includes a sweeter but still creepy Sandman who tells stories to a boy over the course of a week. In Andersen’s version, the Sandman tells the boy on the last day that his brother, Death, will be visiting him the next day. Ideas of death were common in early publications of children’s fairytales, which became a way of teaching children that if death finds them, it is merely a way that they will be able to see God sooner. Though Andersen’s version of this tale only implies death, it still holds a few sadistic qualities that are most often glanced over.

If we looked at Andersen’s version, even though he includes “But Ole-Luk-Oie does not wish to hurt them, for he is very fond of children, and only wants them to be quiet that he may relate to them pretty stories, and they never are quiet until they are in bed and asleep,” he also is telling the story of a male mythical creature that comes and stands over sleeping children, forcing them into a dream world. And while this suggests a sort of power dynamic, one that comes from a dominating male creature, the story presents children with a terrifying idea that they give up all control of their own minds while they sleep. The use of terror in this tale therefore produces good behavior—a seduction of sorts into this reward worthy behavior through a use of terror within the child’s imagination. 

So as the dreams start clouding your mind, as deadlines creep upon us, we must wonder what naughty behaviors have given passage for the Sandman to grant us the nightmares that just won't go away.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Be Very Afraid: The Literature Monsters are Here!

There’s nothing scarier than a terrifying monster in literature: the one not on a television screen, the one we can’t see or hide from because our imagination is running wild and incessantly conjuring up what it may look like in the story. Sitting alone in your darkened room, your every breath overly loud in the silent house, you’re unable to put the book down for fear of discovering that that dark shadow is actually sitting in front of you. Often times the question arises: why we are so attracted to horror stories?

When dealing in horror texts for children, adults often convolute what exactly is acceptable for children and what is too scary form, drawing a blurred line that changes over generations. And what is then even more curious is the question: why are children’s books — once dark and then sanitized until they had squeaky-clean happy endings — now becoming once again tales with darker themes?

Just think of it. Children already live in a scary world where there are giants all around them (adults) and chairs that are too high. The richness of the macabre in contemporary children’s literature seems only a continuation of the fairy-tale tradition, but now it’s been updated to take the anxieties of the modern world into account. Children’s darker tales and horror stories use fairy-tale-esque metaphors in order to tackle the fears and desires lurking beneath the surface of children’s lives — worries not just about death, but about alienation, insecurity, loss, and lack of agency in their lives. Just as adult horror stories provide a more palatable way to absorb the notions of death, bodily decay, and the bleakness of the human condition that would otherwise be too disgusting or distressing to deal with, so, too, do the vampires, ghosts, and ghouls in children’s literature address issues that even adults find too difficult to explain. Horror stories are honest with children in a way that adults, especially parents, are often not, and thus teaching them how to survive against monsters and, in turn, be powerful as well; they can confront their fear in a safe way.

The author of The Uses of Enchantment Bruno Bettelheim writes in his introduction, “While it entertains the child, the fairy tale enlightens him about himself, and fosters his personality development. It offers meaning on so many different levels, and enriches the child’s existence in so many ways…” (Bettelheim 12). And there is something for every child’s (and adult’s) taste, with as many variations of the supernatural as the number of snakes on Medusa’s head.

Here is a list of the 5 scariest monsters in literature we’ve compiled. Until next time, Happy Halloween!
  1. Jabberwok — The villian in the nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll was published in his novel Through the Looking-Glass. The Jabberwock stood “with eyes of flame,/ came whiffling through the tulgey wood,/ and burbled as it came!” This terrifying monster first came to life with John Tenniel’s famous illustration. His interpretation of the creature included the body of a dragon with a catfish-like head, with his “claws that catch” and his “jaws that bite.” Judging by the grotesque yet whimsical description, no one would want to wander into a forest and run into this beast!

  2. Bunnicula — Because what’s more terrifying than a vegetable-sucking, domesticated rabbit? Bunny rabbits are supposed to be the picture of innocence! Until this Bunnicula open their mouth that is. James Howe’s series about the fanged little creature perfectly blends humor and mythical lore about vampires and makes kids look twice at the animals they are responsible for. 

  3. The Nothing — Now this is possibly the most existential monster in children’s literature. The Nothing is the evil, mysterious force of Fantasia in Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, which the protagonist Atreyu is sent to destroy in order to save the citizens of Fantasia. In order
    to protect them from death and sickness, Atreyu must face The Nothing, and in the process, learns that this force is the embodiment of the darkest parts of humanity, everything evil and destructive, depriving the world of meaning and hope and creating a nothingness that will soon engulf us all. 

  4. The Dark Family — This particular “monster” is perhaps the one kids can relate with the most, because children often have that tense relationship with their parents and other adults. Children struggle to make their voices heard in a world that assumes they know and see less than they do or that their knowledge is somehow lesser or invalid. R.L. Stine’s The Girl Who Cried Monster’s parents are literally the monsters at the end of the novel, and this trope of adults who do not validate what their children know is common in The Goosebumps series and costs the adults dearly in the end. However, nothing is more representative of the Dark Family than Coraline’s Other Mother. She is the ultimate representation of the anxieties of smothering, possessing parents, for she “loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon loves its gold… Coraline knew she was a possession, nothing more” (Gaiman 127).

  5. The Goblins — Maurice Sendak is no stranger to darker tales for children. While you may be familiar with Where the Wild Things Are, he wrote another story, Outside Over There, the story of set of goblins that kidnap a young baby, replacing him with an icy doppelganger that melts in his sister’s arms; his older sister then leaves the house through a window to “outside over there” to rescue her kidnapped sibling. In an interview, Sendak says that the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case and seeing the baby’s remains in a newspaper clipping inspired him to write Outside Over There. In an interview with the Paris Review, he states, “You had to form a kind of fake life, to protect yourself. Because you learn very quickly that parents can’t protect you. It leaves a lurking fear. You never feel safe, never believe, really, that your parents are any safer than you, or could protect you from the unknown.
  • Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1976. Print.

  • Steinbrg, Avi. "Maurice Sendak on 'Bumble-Ardy.' The Daily. n.p. 27 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What’s With These Abecedarians?

Fun Fact About ABC Books:
There are three types of ABC books that are known as:

  1. The Swallow Alphabet: this type involves arranging the letters by anything that revolves around eating things or use food as signifies for letters.
  2. The Body Alphabet: this type was common in the 1800s and used drawings of people’s bodies or animal bodies that were made into the shapes of letters.
  3. Alphabetic Array or Worldly Alphabet: this type is most commonly used for children today and is where each letter can stand for anything in the world that starts with that letter.
When we think about children’s literature as a whole, ABC books for children are always an area of inquiry. This doesn’t seem surprising since, each year, there are many new publications of ABC books for children. It could possibly be just a race to the top, who can think up the newest most clever way to teach children the alphabet.

From The New England Primer
Let’s starts with the basics. An abecedarian text is any construction of text that is arranged alphabetically. Texts that included the alphabet started with the primers, in the mid to late 1500’s. The primers were books used in early education and included various religious lessons within its abecedarian form. The New England Primer was the first of this kind in the United States that was intended to teach children to read so that they would be able to read the Bible. John Locke, in 1693, suggested that learning the alphabet should begin as soon as possible for a child, which then allowed these alphabetic methods to adapt into texts for children with more playful elements. In the 18th century, once realizing how profitable book publishing for children was, John Newbery published a type of abecedarian called A Little Pretty Pocket Book with images that were carved from wood and depicted playful setting, starting with “A is for Archer and shot at a frog.” These types of children’s texts were then later turned even more popular through their use of verse and rhyming patterns.

After years passed and more biblical referencing ABC books for children were published, children authors of nonsense finally jump on the children-abecedarian bandwagon and perhaps do an even better job of flipping it upside-down on its head. Alphabet book publications seem to be a common habit among nonsense authors. Edward Lear, Edward St. John Gorey, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Suess, and even Maurice Sendak all have at least one published alphabet book for children.

Within Edward Lear’s collection of nonsense literature, there is A Nonsense Alphabet, which perhaps later on inspired one Edward St. John Gorey to publish so many of his nonsense and dark ABC books for children. How does anyone forget the lines: “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears” (The Gashlycrumb Tinies)?

In today’s age, while there are some creative ABC books for children still being published, they may be lost on the shelves, squished between the ABC baby board book, the ABC baby peek-a-book board book, the ABC baby bath time plastic book, and any other form they come in that are harder for baby consumption. So maybe instead of worrying about eaten pages out of ABC books for children, we should worry about the content and display that these eaten pages would have contained.
And while most ABC books for children being published today have different marketing intentions, there are still some note-worthy contemporary ABC books for children.  One example is Animalia, a sophisticated alphabet book by Graeme Base. This incredibly artistic and creative ABC book took three years to create and was an international best seller. Animalia is a great example of playful ABC books with its hidden boy in each picture, which was actually the author as a little boy. Marion Bataille is another author worthy of recognition. She published a 3D alphabet book for children titled ABC3D in 2008 that also came with a cool video of a hand flipping through its pages to the tube of "Roll On Mississippi, Roll On" by The Boswell Sisters.  These contemporary examples of ABC books for children will hopefully challenge and inspire the next abecedarian books for children authors to continue to create clever, witty, and a unique design in order to continue a culture of brilliant ABC books for children.

Notes and Citations:
"Animalia (1986)." The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English. Ed. Victor Watson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Credo Reference. Web. 20 Oct 2015.
"Alphabet Books." The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English. Ed. Victor Watson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Credo Reference. Web. 20 Oct 2015.
Shortsleeve, Kevin. "Edward Gorey, Children's Literature, and Nonsense Verse." Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 27.1 (2002): 27-39.