Children’s Literature originally began as folklore and fairy tales, spoken and handed down through generations.  Before the 18th century there was little literature designated as “Children’s Literature.” Those who started writing children’s literature started writing stories that would teach values and morals within the stories.  Think of “Pinocchio” that told of the consequences of telling a lie and of not listening to his father ”Geppetto.”  As time went on, children’s literature became more popular with authors like Beatrix Potter, who penned the Peter Rabbit set of books, C.S. Lewis who wrote the Lion the With and the Wardrobe series, Dr. Seuss and Ronald Dahl, author of some of the BEST villains and protagonists in Children’s Literature.  It has recently been reported that there is to be a revising of Ronald Dahl’s works because some of the language may be “offensive.”  Some words are to be replaced or omitted  that relate to weight, gender and race.  These books have sold millions, some turned into movies and I believe this is the first time anyone felt the need to “edit” or sensor Dahl’s  classic children’s stories.  If you don’t have these classic books already in your library, acquire the original texts before they are difficult to come by.  Ronald Dahl was a very educated man who served as a fighter pilot during WWII.  Many of his characters and experiences came from his own childhood  For generation his book have entertained both children and the adults who read them to their children with no need for additional edits.  Maybe if there is no interest in the newer editions, publishers will leave classics alone.  Dahl’s books and others have become classics for a reason and have stood the test of time.  “What the traffic will allow,” is the best predictor of success in the market place.

    Disney recently announced that a new version of the classic movie, Snow White is in the works.  The story line has been tinkered with, the characters of the dwarves have been reworked and the love story is questionable.  The movie sounds NOTHING like Snow White, why even call it that?  Once again, Disney has goofed.  Why mess with a classic?  If they want to change everything about the movie, it’s not the same movie.  Make another movie, call it what you want and have no link to the original.

    Parents will and SHOULD look for the books and movies they want their children to read and watch. As mentioned above, the market place will pick the winners and losers.  Teach your children what good literature and good movies are.  Use movies and books to teach and discuss literary terms like character, plot, theme, protagonist, antagonist, setting, irony, satire, comedy, tragedy, etc.  A good book or movie will include these.  Give you kids the skills to decipher and have meaningful discussions to help them learn to look for quality literature and films.  In addition to literary terms discuss what they like about the story and what they didn’t care for.

It’s really too bad that Disney can’t learn from their mistakes and others that offending their customer base and messing with a product when it has customer satisfaction can have a  negative affects to their bottom line.  Realize that your dollar matters. You may not have voting power when it comes to the Golden Globes or The Academy Awards, but without ‘Your Vote”,  movies of any kind will come to a standstill because money talks and it sure doesn’t grow on trees.  Wishing you many Great Days of reading really good literature.