You're Only Young Twice: Children's Literature and Film

Front Cover
University of Illinois Press, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 186 pages
Original and thought-provoking, You're Only Young Twice reveals the complexities that underlie even the sparest picture book text and the lessons that reside in even the most familiar family movie plots.

Moving from classic texts (The Secret Garden, Goodnight Moon) to ephemera (the Hardy Boys, Goosebumps, and Harry Potter series), from the printed page to the silver screen (Willie Wonka, Jumanji, 101 Dalmatians, Beethoven), Tim Morris employs his experience as a parent and teacher to interrogate children's culture and reveal its conflicting messages.

Books and films for children--favorites accepted as wholesome fare for impressionable young minds --do not always teach straightforward lessons. Instead, they reflect the anxieties of the times and the desires of adults. At the heart of many a children's classic lies power, often expressed through racism, sexism, or violence. Under Morris's gaze, revered animal stories like Black Beauty turn into litanies of abuse; fantasies of childhood like Big are revealed as patriarchal struggles.

You're Only Young Twice redirects the focus on children's literature, asking not "What messages should children receive?" but "What messages do adults actually send?" For example, Morris recounts his own childhood confusion upon viewing Peter Pan, with its queenish, inept pirate and a grown woman (Mary Martin) in tights who pretends to be a crowing boy.
Morris shatters our long-held assumptions and challenges our best intentions, demonstrating how children's literature and films lay bare a troubled and troubling worldview.


 

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User Review  - Jennie_103 - LibraryThing

A very readable book about the types of books children enjoy and the messages they actually convey. It is written by a lecturer who uses his experiences as a parent to give examples. It also covers some children's films. Read full review

Contents

Coming to Black Beauty
15
Dog Stories and Kids
31
What Was Series Fiction Doing
58
The Secret Garden and Peter Pan
87
Children as Adults Adults as Children
120
Picture Books for the Very Young
149
Works Cited
175
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