09 October 2009

Very Grouchy Daddy

Provocative (at least in the children's lit circle) article in Slate by Daniel B. Smith railing against Eric Carle.

There comes a time in the life of a writer when he has to straighten his spine, gird his loins, and—facing the certain opprobrium of his peers and the
disdain of his friends and family—proclaim an ignored, essential verity.

Eric Carle, the most successful children's book author
of our time, sucks.

And Smith raises two classic children's book questions:

1. To what extent should the author take his adult audience into account?
2. Carle or Sendak? (A Kidslit version of Beatles or Rolling Stones)

Update: The children's literature gods have heard Smith's call and rewarded him with this: On October 8th, Jumpstart used the Very Hungry Caterpillar as it's Read for the Record book this year. The numbers are still being tallied, but there's a chance that Smith's nemesis will be enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records...


Saints and Spinners said...

His points have merit. The artwork is great, but I agree with the laziness of the sort-of sequels to his books. Brown Bear, et al, it should be noted, are written by Bill Martin, Jr.

My gripe with Carle is this: a butterfly comes out of a chrysalis, a moth comes out of a coccoon. I don't understand why the text was never corrected. It perpetuates a scientific falsehood. One might quibble and say, "You've got a problem with a butterfly emerging from a cocoon but not from a caterpillar eating a slice of cake, a lollipop and a sausage?"

That's right. I'm fine with the food.

Minh said...

you're right! the guy doesn't recognize that Carle wasn't the offer...

though i guess, if Bill Martin rarely gets credit for the books, then maybe it's only fair that he also doesn't get the flak.

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