This critical guide provides a concise yet comprehensive history of British and North American children's literature from its seventeenth-century origins to the present day. Each chapter focuses on one of the main genres of children's literature: fables, fantasy, adventure stories, moral tales, family stories, the school story, and poetry. M. O. Grenby shows how these forms have evolved over three hundred years as well as asking why most children's books, even today, continue to fall into one or other of these generic categories. Why, for instance, has fantasy been so appealing to both Victorian and twenty-first-century children? Are the religious and moral stories written in the eighteenth century really so different from the teenage problem novels of today? The book answers questions like these with a combination of detailed analysis of particular key texts and a broad survey of hundreds of children's books, both famous and forgotten.
Edinburgh University Press