Animals Rule in Children's Literature: Frogs and Caterpillars and Bears - Oh My!
Animals Rule in ChildrensLiterature: Frogs and Caterpillars and Bears - Oh My!
From very hungry caterpillars and penguins for every day of the year to the Kingdom of Frogavia, animals rule in childrens literature. Whether used to teach numbers,colors, or more subtle lessons of morality, animals are the perfect vehicles for conveying tangible and intangible concepts in an entertaining way.
The unique not-quite-human yet not-quite-animal characters in the classic Dr. Seuss tales, paired with allegories about honor and even disarmament, set the stage for the next generation of childrens books and entertainment. Endearing creatures from Sesame Street(what is a Snuffleupagus, anyway?) and puppets from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood created a world of make believe that children could call their own.
In childrens literature, the story is often secondary to the lavish illustrations. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," for example, wouldnt be nearly as compelling without Eric Carles illustrations. Likewise, "If You Give a Mouse aCookie" is clever, but Felicia Bonds illustrations make the book a childrens classic.
Kristin Zambuckas "Frog Knights" and "Frogavia! Frogavia!" are perfect examples of books that consist of both lavish illustrations and compelling tales. In the first book, frog characters live in their own frog world - the big pond known as The Kingdom Of Frogavia. The true frogking is unseated from his ancient throne and banished to a far, distant pond by an evil ruler. As his bullying and tyrannical rule stretch on, the Frogavian people growincreasingly restless and unhappy. Finally, a group of brave young rebels rise up and go in search of their true king. They eventually find him and he dubs them chivalry frogknights in gratitude for their loyalty. The king, along with a frog queen and frog princesses, return to Frogavia and right the wrongs of the evil ruler. In the second book, the story progresses, with one of the chivalry frog knights
Zambuckas books are more whimsical than, say, MaryPope Osbornes Magic Tree House series or Tony Abbotts Secrets of Droon series, but capture the magic of childhood while imparting nuggets of wisdom. The whimsy and appeal of the characters is that they come from the animal kingdom.
Theres no doubt that creatures are central to todays childrens literature. Whether completely imaginary, such as those in "Where the Wild Things Are," or real, as arethose in "365 Penguins," or a little of both, as in "Frogavia! Frogavia!", kids are captivated by animals that cause the imagination to soar.
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