Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why don't we take children's books seriously?

The bunny rabbit, whose propensity for breeding is legendary, has long served as a fertility symbol for the Spring. Bunnykins figures came from the fertile imagination of a young woman whose father, Cuthbert Bailey, happened to be the managing director of Royal Doulton. As a child, Barbara Vernon Bailey had filled sketchbooks with drawings of the countryside, and of the animals kept by her four brothers and two sisters including pigs, cows, horses and ferrets, as well as the more cuddly dogs, cats and guinea-pigs.
I don’t know if we’re the only country whose media doesn’t take children’s books seriously, but certainly the situation is different in Germany. My publisher there often sends me double-page articles devoted to the work of just one children’s author or illustrator. America also appears more enlightened. I recently read a long serious article in The New York Times about British author-illustrator Rebecca Cobb’s Missing Mummy, a book about parental loss which received not one single print review in a British national paper.
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