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Suspended Animation: Children's Picture Books and the Fairy Tale of Modernity

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Through a combination of nostalgia and new printing technologies, picture book publishing in America became a popular enterprise between the wars. Suspended Animation analyzes the phenomenon of American picture books and what their imaginative form and content reveal about the modern nation. In this insightful and nuanced work, Nathalie op de Beeck argues that pictorial lit Through a combination of nostalgia and new printing technologies, picture book publishing in America became a popular enterprise between the wars. Suspended Animation analyzes the phenomenon of American picture books and what their imaginative form and content reveal about the modern nation. In this insightful and nuanced work, Nathalie op de Beeck argues that pictorial literature intended for young readers presents a paradox. Children's picture books are at once fairy tales that uphold middle-class traditions and modern commodities that teach children about their changing world. With engaging color and black-and-white illustrations from influential texts, op de Beeck shows how these word-and-picture sequences provide deceptively simple stories within the specific historical and cultural contexts of the period between the 1910s and 1940s. Suspended Animation contends that children's picture books reflect adult ideals and provide visual and written information in contemporary, colorful packages. Although they are outwardly earnest and easy to read, picture books express questionable attitudes on ethnic and racial difference, nature and technology, and history and the here and now. By examining the production of picture books, their modes of storytelling, and their nods to both the avant-garde and mass culture, Suspended Animation traces the development of the American picture book in the history of modernity.


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Through a combination of nostalgia and new printing technologies, picture book publishing in America became a popular enterprise between the wars. Suspended Animation analyzes the phenomenon of American picture books and what their imaginative form and content reveal about the modern nation. In this insightful and nuanced work, Nathalie op de Beeck argues that pictorial lit Through a combination of nostalgia and new printing technologies, picture book publishing in America became a popular enterprise between the wars. Suspended Animation analyzes the phenomenon of American picture books and what their imaginative form and content reveal about the modern nation. In this insightful and nuanced work, Nathalie op de Beeck argues that pictorial literature intended for young readers presents a paradox. Children's picture books are at once fairy tales that uphold middle-class traditions and modern commodities that teach children about their changing world. With engaging color and black-and-white illustrations from influential texts, op de Beeck shows how these word-and-picture sequences provide deceptively simple stories within the specific historical and cultural contexts of the period between the 1910s and 1940s. Suspended Animation contends that children's picture books reflect adult ideals and provide visual and written information in contemporary, colorful packages. Although they are outwardly earnest and easy to read, picture books express questionable attitudes on ethnic and racial difference, nature and technology, and history and the here and now. By examining the production of picture books, their modes of storytelling, and their nods to both the avant-garde and mass culture, Suspended Animation traces the development of the American picture book in the history of modernity.

27 review for Suspended Animation: Children's Picture Books and the Fairy Tale of Modernity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    This was incredibly useful in my picturebook class.  This textbook was easily well worth the money and the time it took reading it all--but be warned, op de Beeck's writing is extremely dense, and the chapters are extremely long.  However, I have to say that my favorite chapter was the one all about locomotives and other machinery, and how picturebook authors and illustrators humanized them as our ascent towards technology steepened.  Her work truly is compelling, and I'd highly recommend it if This was incredibly useful in my picturebook class.  This textbook was easily well worth the money and the time it took reading it all--but be warned, op de Beeck's writing is extremely dense, and the chapters are extremely long.  However, I have to say that my favorite chapter was the one all about locomotives and other machinery, and how picturebook authors and illustrators humanized them as our ascent towards technology steepened.  Her work truly is compelling, and I'd highly recommend it if you're interested in taking a deep look at the history of picturebook themes and motifs. Review cross-listed here!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    A very readable and thorough examination of modern (early 20th century) picture books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mel-Mel

  5. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marcie

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chad

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faye Stephens

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vipin

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Sears

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zoë

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Renee

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cornel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julie Gribble

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Maya

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti Koopmans

  22. 4 out of 5

    Devin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carly Mcrae

  24. 5 out of 5

    SDSU Children'S

  25. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joseph-Daniel Peter Paul Abondius

  27. 5 out of 5

    Celeste Trimble

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