'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Review: Fierce Bad Rabbits: The Tales Behind Children's Picture Books

This book is many things. In a brilliant piece of writing, Clare Pollard produces something of great value and interest.  

This deeply analytical biographical overview of the history of children’s writing begins with poetry books and poets of the early1800s, and encompasses storytelling. 

It reveals the stories behind the stories written for children.

Origins of fairytales and children’s stories, and the whys and how of their creation extend to the comparisons of early books with children’s books of today. 

The gender specific manipulation used by marketing gurus of recent years, also examined and discussed is both eye-opening and disturbing.

Pollard’s superb research skills have left little uncovered. As the attention doesn’t focus strictly on the work, we learn about the creators’ solitary, even deprived lives, and the creative inspiration of many popular names in children’s books. The characters and storylines of much-loved books and how they were built and imagined have been deconstructed and examined in detail.

These stories couldn’t be told without including the social history that revolved around these writers and the historical setting of their lives. These additional inclusions produce an expansive expose which resembles many books in one.

Meanwhile, Pollard shares within the context of the content, her formative years and influences – children’s books and people – that led her to writing. Stirred into the biographical information that abounds, are humorous and entertaining reflections from Pollard’s personal life which are connected to, or tie in with, books she resourced.

This is a publication full of humour, satire and philosophical reflection. Sometimes deeply moving, it presents thought-provoking information taken from the lives and work of her subjects. Studies and papers written about children’s books have been drawn on, with many excerpts used to support specific points.

22 Pages of Bibliography plus an Index of 12 pages is some indication of the amount of research undertaken to produce this outstanding reflection on the history of children’s books and their creators.

Title: Fierce Bad Rabbits: The Tales Behind Children’s Picture Books
Author: Clare Pollard
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $32.99
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780241354780
For ages: All Ages
Type:  Non Fiction

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