Telling Children's Stories


Telling Children's Stories

Narrative Theory and Children's Literature

Edited by Mike Cadden

Frontiers of Narrative Series

344 pages
7 illustrations


January 2011


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

January 2011


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The most accessible approach yet to children’s literature and narrative theory, Telling Children’s Stories is a comprehensive collection of never-before-published essays by an international slate of scholars that offers a broad yet in-depth assessment of narrative strategies unique to children’s literature.
The volume is divided into four interrelated sections: “Genre Templates and Transformations,” “Approaches to the Picture Book,” “Narrators and Implied Readers,” and “Narrative Time.” Mike Cadden’s introduction considers the links between the various essays and topics, as well as their connections with such issues as metafiction, narrative ethics, focalization, and plotting. Ranging in focus from picture books to novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird, from detective fiction for children to historical tales, from new works such as the Lemony Snicket series to classics like Tom’s Midnight Garden, these essays explore notions of montage and metaphor, perspective and subjectivity, identification and time. Together, they comprise a resource that will interest and instruct scholars of narrative theory and children’s literature, and that will become critically important to the understanding and development of both fields.

Author Bio

Mike Cadden is a professor of English, the director of childhood studies, and the chair of the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Journalism at Missouri Western State University. He is the author of Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults.
Contributors include Nathalie op de Beeck, Holly Blackford, Mike Cadden, Elisabeth Rose Gruner, Martha Hixon, Dana Keren-Yaar, Alexandra Lewis, Chris McGee, Maria Nikolajeva, Danielle Russell, Magdalena Sikorska, Susan Stewart, Andrea Schwenke Wyile, Angela Yannicopoulou, and Angelika Zirker.


"This book sounds a call for all literary scholars to embrace children's literature."—D.J. Brothers, CHOICE

"Child literature scholars as well as students interested in narrative theory will no doubt repeatedly consult the in-depth analyses as well as the strong theoretical chapters in this valuable volume."—Yasmine Motawy, International Research Society for Children’s Literature

"[Telling Children's Stories] is a welcome and accomplished contribution to children's literature studies, and I am confident that I will return often to many of these fine essays."—Richard Flynn, Children's Literature Association Quarterly

Table of Contents


      Mike Cadden

Part 1. Genre Templates and Transformations

1. Telling Old Tales Newly: Intertextuality in Young Adult Fiction for Girls

      Elisabeth Rose Gruner

2. Familiarity Breeds a Following: Transcending the Formulaic in the Snicket Series

      Danielle Russell

3. The Power of Secrets: Backwards Construction and the Children's Detective Story

      Chris McGee

Part 2. Approaches to the Picture Book

4. Focalization in Children's Picture Books: Who Sees in Words and Pictures?

      Angela Yannicopoulou

5. No Consonance, No Consolation: John Burningham's Time to Get Out of the Bath, Shirley

      Magdalena Sikorska

6. Telling the Story, Breaking the Boundaries: Metafiction and the Enhancement of Children's Literary Development in The Bravest Ever Bear and The Story of the Falling Star

      Alexandra Lewis

7. Perceiving The Red Tree: Narrative Repair, Writerly Metaphor, and Sensible Anarchy

      Andrea Schwenke Wyile

8. Now Playing: Silent Cinema and Picture-Book Montage

      Nathalie op de Beeck

Part 3. Narrators and Implied Readers

9. Uncle Tom Melodrama with a Modern Point of View: Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

      Holly Blackford

10. The Identification Fallacy: Perspective and Subjectivity in Children's Literature

      Maria Nikolajeva

11. The Development of Hebrew Children's Literature: From Men Pulling Children Along to Women Meeting Them Where They Are

      Dana Keren-Yaar

Part 4. Narrative Time

12. Shifting Worlds: Constructing the Subject, Narrative, and History in Historical Time Shifts

      Susan Stewart

13. "Whose Woods These Are I Think I Know": Narrative Theory and Diana Wynne Jones's Hexwood

      Martha Hixon

14. "Time No Longer": The Context(s) of Time in Tom's Midnight Garden

      Angelika Zirker

Further Reading



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