Monday, March 05, 2007

out of the woods and on to the prairie

Tonight is the last chapter of Little House in the Big Woods and my son is very eager to begin Little House on the Prairie. I hope we'll enjoy it more than some members of the kidlitosphere have! Perhaps I should read ahead tonight to prepare myself for any unpleasant surprises.

Someone on the childlit list brought up the ugly caricatures of Africans in the Asterix books, which I had managed to forget about. Argh, it's always something, isn't it? But those books are absolutely non-negotiable, as far as I'm concerned. (Hockridge and Bell translations only, natch.) The wikipedia article linked to above has an interesting section on stereotypes of different nationalities in the books; apparently no one was left unscathed. I confess that the stereotyping of, say, Germans, does not concern me on the same level as depictions of Africans speaking like Amos and Andy. I think some of the later editions have cleaned that language up, and since we are talking humorous history rather than actual history here, that bothers me almost not at all.

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Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

I LOVE the Little House books now and I loved them when I was a kid. I think the first time I read the series I was about 7 or 8, then I just read them again this past December. I see nothing wrong with the books and I'm going to have to read people's past blogs about them to see what the big deal is. I had no idea there was even controversy around them. I hope your son is enjoying them though!

3/05/2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger MotherReader bligged...

I still like the Little House books, but as a kid I loved them. I read them over and over again. As an adult, I was struck by the things I hadn't noticed as a kid - like the racial stuff you mentioned. The writing style also seemed a little, I don't know how to say it, but kind of matter-of-fact. There are definitely times in the books that are more about the language, but when the author tells you about killing a pig, you hear about the whole detailed thing. It's not bad, it's just that the writing itself isn't as "magical" as it was in my head. The books still do a wonderful job of telling the story, setting the scene, and teaching the history. We'll still read them too, they just didn't hold up to my memory of them.

3/05/2007 7:59 PM  

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