THE PIED PIPERS: Interviews with the Influential Creators of Children's Literature by Justin & Emma Fisher Wintle

THE PIED PIPERS: Interviews with the Influential Creators of Children's Literature

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twenty-four serious, relatively intelligent interviews with contemporary writers (and a few illustrators) of fiction for children and YA's. The accent is English as are the two interviewers but over a third of the subjects are American, and in fact Wintle and Fisher begin with Sendak and (from the sublime. . .) end with Judy Blume. The Americans included are in fact altogether an odd lot--Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss (who answered in writing as he was, not surprisingly, unavailable for interview), along with E.B. White and, for midcult balance, Madeleine L'Engle. But then such English eminences as Garfield, Garner and Townsend are thrown in with Roald Dahl. (Richard Adams is here too, rambling on about Shakespeare and Jesus Christ.) But if no special point of view informs the selections or the questions, the interviewers do succeed in provoking long and generally thoughtful answers. And though we find them too easy on some (for example Maia Wojciechowska who gets away with going on about all the school kids who ""come up and tell me I'm the only human being he or she has ever met""), they can when so inclined ask some uncomfortable questions, even nudging back those authors who try to evade them. Wintle and Fisher are not children's book specialists (they are even factually mistaken about Sendak's Caldecott history) and often seem not only undiscriminating but even unaware of consensus judgments (popularity being proof enough), but their interviews go deeper than those conducted and compiled by our library-oriented professionals.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1975
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Paddington Press/Two Continents, 30 East 42nd Street, New York, New York 10017