Children's Literature

Instructor: Chi-Fen Emily Chen, Ph.D. 陳其芬

Department of English, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan


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Fantasy
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Fantasy

 

 Please read Chapter 10 from Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: a short introduction.

Introduction Characteristics Types Values Alice in Wonderland

Characteristics

  • Settings transcend the world of reality. Some stories take place entirely in a fantasy world, and other stories travel back and forth between the real world and the world of make-believe. The fantasy world is vividly and convincingly described, regardless of how fantastical it may be.

  • Characters are well developed and behave in believable ways. They may be fantastic creatures or they can appear to be ordinary. The protagonist possesses a clearly defined (and perhaps complex) personality and exhibits growth during the course of the story.

  • Plots are well structured and believable too. They have logical actions. Magic is an essential element of the plot, which keeps children involved, but all fantasies must have their limits or else they devolve into nonsense. The resolution makes sense within the realm of the fantasy world or the rules of the fantasy.

  • Themes reflect the same universal ideas present in other forms of children’s literature – the value of friendship, loyalty, the overcoming of fear, respect for others, coming of age. Themes are typically woven into the story and developed metaphorically through the characters and their actions. They can reveal important lessons and form the basis of decision making, but the writer of fantasy does not preach at us.

  •  The tone is often serious, though stories are often light, airy, and humorous. Fantasy is perfectly suited to the thoughtful exploration of philosophical issues at a level that can be understood and appreciated by the child reader.

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