Where the Wild Things Came From
How children's books evolved from morals to madcap fun.
Posted Friday, Nov. 23, 2007, at 8:31 AM
This somber mode continued through the Civil War. And then it went poof, dispelled by artists who became children's illustrators by happenstance. By the end of the 19th century, the art in kids' books had become madcap and zany and irreverent. From the postwar period, one can trace the imagery and style that are familiar from the classics of one's own childhood.
Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and writes about law, family, and kids. Her forthcoming book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Empathy and Character. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter.
Erica S. Perl is the author of Ninety-Three in My Familyand Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early. She has also written two novels for young people that are forthcoming, and she contributes to Pajamazon, the children's book column at Offsprung.com.