THE WORLD TREASURY OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE by Clifton--Ed. Fadiman

THE WORLD TREASURY OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The first children's book ever to be a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club"" (for November)--but otherwise negligible, or worse. In two boxed volumes (total weight, over 5 lbs.) is a jumble of mostly-standard selections--nursery rhymes, fables, folk and fairy tales, excerpts from juvenile classics--supposedly for youngsters from four-to-eight. (A second set, scheduled for Fall '85 publication, will be for nine-to-twelves.) The largest single category, however, consists of picture-book abridgements--complete texts, ""selected"" illustrations. The audience for much of this material (Goodnight Moon, The Story of Ping, Curious George, Where the Wild Things Are, etc., etc.), and also for much of the balance, is one-to-fives. The picture books, reduced to a kind of picture-story, lose immeasurably and altogether unnecessarily: they're the most popular, most widely available we have. For the rest, the book is illustrated with black-and-white drawings by Leslie Morrill that veer between comic-book muscles-and-smirks and cartoon burlesque. There is one clinker: Lucille Clifton's poem, ""Sunday Morning Lonely"" (from Some Days and Ways of Everett Anderson), which begins ""Daddy's back/ is broad and black/ and Everett Anderson loves to ride it,"" is illustrated with two drawings of a dog. (That's one of two selections that have anything to do with a racial or cultural minority, the other being Ezra Jack Keats' Hi, Cat! One of the three non-European selections, Alice Ritchie's ""Two of Everything,"" from The Treasure of Li-Po, isn't illustrated as Chinese.) There are a very few less familiar European selections that some children might like and not find elsewhere. But the set as a whole is a misconceived enterprise, poorly accomplished at that.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1984
Publisher: Little, Brown