Thoughts on genre, language, grammar, and other
rhetorical and linguistic norms
rhetorical and linguistic norms
And Happy Birthday to my great niece!
One of my great nieces has a birthday today. Since I won’t be able to be with her today, I thought I’d post this blog for her pleasure, as well as mine. And maybe yours.
For children like her, I’m including videos of children’s stories and fairy tales and copies of and links to some written stories. Kids can skip all the words in the next part.
For us adults, just a few thoughts on the genres of children’s stories and how they’re different when they’re seen in a paper book or in a video, and how they’re different when someone on a video is reading it to them or when a parent or loved one is reading it to them.
Because these videos can’t begin to compete with Auntie Amy being there to read the book to my great niece on her birthday. Not even the Smelly Socks one that is one man reading the book aloud, turning and showing the book's pages all the time. It’s the story, but not the cuddling or shared experience.
Now that she can read some for herself, her own reading experience is surely different if she’s stretched out on the floor with the picture book in front of her than if she’s sitting at a table reading the words on Mommy’s computer screen.
So the format makes a difference—print or video.
The platform makes a difference—physical book or digitized words
The setting makes a difference—in front of a screen, on the floor, in a lap
And the genre makes a difference. Surprise!
I started looking for children’s stories to share with my great niece, and I found some called children’s books and some called fairy tales, and others called stories and others called bedtime stories. And then of course there are nursery rhymes! I was looking for only things that had been written words first, so that left out “videos” for children not based on a book or tale.
As far as I can tell, the difference between fairy tales and children’s stories might be a combination of how old they are and how many versions might have been told and passed down orally?
The Three Little Pigs video below--a fairy tale--comes with a British accent and refers to three little piglets rather than pigs, as I remember it hearing it as a child. But the Very Hungry Caterpillar sticks to the one published version of the children’s book.
Ah, but it gets messier, dear genre adults. When I searched for the original version of “The Three Little Pigs,” I found it labeled as a fable, a folktale, a bedtime story, and a short story, as well as a fairy tale. AND one labeled as a Walt Disney production, but that was the book version of the Disney film.
Well, there are knowledgeable experts in these differences among children’s genres and in the distinctions among folktales and fables and fairy tales, and I’m not one of them, so I will leave all these distinctions to others more knowledgeable than I.
Instead, I offer all of you here—adults and children alike—some children’s stories, tales, fables, and books.
And Happy Birthday, dear Great Niece!!!!!
You can read Aesop's Fables online on read.gov, a collection of children's books in the Library of Congress
You can read this poem by Shel Silverstein on the public website 100.best-poems.net
by Shel Silverstein
Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?
I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy's shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin.
I got if from rolling around on the rug
And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
I got it from finding a lost silver mine
And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
And from having more fun than you've had in years.
4/30/2018 04:14:41 pm
Lovely. We talk a lot about genre in the classes I teach in "Youth Literature" -- an umbrella term that embraces the categories that used to squeeze under "children's literature" (the term still used in the titles of the major journals in this field), which has sprouted "middle grades literature" and "young adult literature." I have tended to describe these age-level categories as "markets" in order to reserve "genre" for the types of books for readers at different levels (which for younger readers include stories in distinctive formats, like "picture book" and "easy reader"). As you note, there are so many conceptual balls in the air by the time we pay due homage to the role of medium (picture book app!) and setting (lap).
4/30/2018 06:18:52 pm
Thank you, Fern Kory, for adding all those rich genre details! I especially appreciate your distinction between "market" and "genre." That makes great sense.
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