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July 06th 2009 print

Culture catcher: 6

“To set forth, as only art can, the beauty and joy of living and the blessedness of death, the glory of battle and adventure, the nobility of devotion - to a cause, an ideal, a passion even - the dignity of resistance, the sacred quality of patriotism, that is my ambition here.”

William Ernest Henley, Lyra Heroica: A Book of Verse for Boys (London, 1900):

My purpose has been to choose and sheave a certain number of those achievements in verse which, as expressing the simpler sentiments and the more elemental emotions, might fitly be addressed to such boys – and men, for that matter – as are privileged to use our noble English tongue.

To set forth, as only art can, the beauty and joy of living and the blessedness of death, the glory of battle and adventure, the nobility of devotion – to a cause, an ideal, a passion even – the dignity of resistance, the sacred quality of patriotism, that is my ambition here. 

NON-SEXIST CHILDREN’S BOOKS: An introductory list prepared and distributed in Fall 1987 by the Montgomery County (Maryland) Chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women): 

Portnoy, Mindy Avrà. Ima on the Bima: My Mother is a Rabbi. Kar Ben 1986. A girl describes her mother’s activities as a religious leader.

Rice, Eve. Benny Bakes a Cake. Greenwillow 1981. A boy makes his own birthday cake.

Sendak, Maurice. Outside Over There. Harper 1981. A brave girl rescues her baby sister from goblins.

Van Woerkom, Dorothy. The Queen Who Couldn’t Bake Gingerbread.
Parents Magazine Press 1975. A king and queen learn to judge others by their qualities rather than their appearance, in addition to learning self-reliance and mutual consideration.

Van Woerkom, Dorothy. Becky and the Bear. Putnam 1975. A clever girl deals with a bear.

Waber, Bernard. Ira Sleeps Over. Houghton 1972. A boy learns that other boys also crave the security of a stuffed animal.

Zolotow, Charlotte. William’s Doll. Harper 1972. A boy’s nurturing play is encouraged 

Review of Susie Gibbs, compiler, Revolting Poems to Make You Squirm (Oxford, 2006):

The title [Revolting Poems to Make You Squirm] is aptly descriptive though the contents contain a lot more depth and skill than might be presumed. There are some lovely descriptive pieces. Wendy Cope writes of a scab attracting so much admiration that the healing leaves a bereft feeling. There’s a leech commenting on its victims among other matters. It all works splendidly as it can make readers feel deliciously subversive while serving them well.