Classic Children's Literature · RAL · Reading · The Classics Club

Coming Soon: Classic Children’s Lit Event, 3

I’m starting to see 2015 plans and challenges pop up here and there and, truth to tell, I’ve been thinking about my own 2015 plans for a while now. Perhaps 2015 should be the year of translations. Strike that. 2015 is about reading from my book shelves. Nope, wait a minute, let’s make 2015 all about women writers. No, no, no, maybe 2015 should be…

But through all this dithering I’ve known that January will involve children’s classics. Because that is what January is. (And also somehow Don Quixote…January could be…interesting…this year.) Somehow I’m finding myself surprised that this will be the third year I’m inviting others to read children’s classics with me in January, but so it is.

2015_Childrens_Lit_OriginalAs in years past, I will be reading an optional readalong title. Only one person offered an opinion when I asked a week or two ago, so The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi it is! I’ve yet to read more than one chapter (two years ago in an aborted attempt to read the Italian–I will most definitely be reading in translation this time), but I have every assurance that this is NOT your Disney Pinocchio. Not having yet read it, I can’t offer much in the way of translation options (other than be sure to look for an unabridged modern version). A little bit of internet research suggests that Geoffrey Brock’s translation for New York Review Books Classics is well regarded (although I should note his is an American English translation, which I know bothers some). For those looking for original illustrations and/or a bilingual version (Italian and English on facing pages), look for the translation by Nicolas J. Parella (University of California Press). And much praise can be found for the 2004 edition illustrated by Roberto Innocenti. (I can’t find the full name of the translator for this one, just “Murray.”) Although Ann Lawson Lucas also apparently has a fairly well-known modern translation, one site I found warned that she turned  “tortellini” into “steak and kidney pudding,” and translated “Geppetto” as “Old Joe” which is enough for me to stay away! (There IS such thing as over-translation, I think.)
PinocchioRAL_300

Event Basics

  • During the month of January, read as many Children’s Classics as you wish and post about them on your blog and/or leave a comment on the event page on this blog. I will have a link page starting the first of the year to gather posts so that we may share as we go.
  • The optional RAL title: The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. I plan on discussion the weekend of January 23-25.
  • I’m not going to be the “children’s classics” police. Use your own judgement for what fits the category but if you want some guidelines, these are what I’m going by:
    • I think many of us have read more recent children’s books that we may already deem “classics” (for example, many people feel that way about the Harry Potter books), but for this event, I’d prefer if we read books that were written prior to 1964. This will still allow a lot of options, and will hopefully avoid the “but what is a classic” dilemma! (And yes, 1964 is rather arbitrary. Rebel if you wish, but 50 years old seems a good age.)
    • Defining “children’s,” especially prior to 1900 or so can be a challenge as some books we think of as “children’s” today may not have been intended that way at the time. Personally, I’d say books appropriate for approximately an elementary-school aged child or preteen (to read or to have read to them) should be fine. I’d personally also count the various fairy tales, even though some of the earliest versions were not exactly family friendly.
    • Feel free to include books from any country, in translation or not. I have limited exposure to non-American children’s lit, so I’d love to learn about books from other countries myself.
    • Feel free to double up with other events or challenges if you wish.
  • And if you need ideas I posted
  • There is no deadline for joining or participating (other than, of course, the end of January).

Most important: Have fun!

Please let me know in the comments of this post if you are interested in participating, and let me know if you have any questions. Also, please feel free to use any of the event/RAL images on your own blogs.

2015_Childrens_Lit_200 2015_Childrens_Lit_250 2015_Childrens_Lit_300  PinocchioRAL_200 PinocchioRAL_250Happy reading!

Image sources: The event logo painting is Interesting Story, 1898 by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930), Canadian. The RAL logo illustration is from the first (Italian) edition of Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino, 1883, illustrated by Enrico Mazzanti (1852-1910).

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28 thoughts on “Coming Soon: Classic Children’s Lit Event, 3

  1. What a fun idea. If I get a chance, I’ll pop by the library and pick up the original Pinocchio story. Classic children’s literature is often so much grimmer than modern ones, don’t you find? Should be an interesting month of reading for you.

    1. Thanks, I hope you can join in! I don’t know that I necessarily find that classic children’s literature is necessarily grimmer–I think that it depends on which children’s classics we’re talking about. Alcott, for instance is mostly upbeat, as are Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and The Wizard of Oz. Outside of Alcott, I haven’t read much from the 19th century (although I know the Grimm fairy tales are much darker–but they may not have been intended for children anyways, from what I’ve read), so I don’t know how it trends overall.

      1. That’s a good point. I guess I was thinking of books for younger kidd. I recently reread a first Babar and some of the imagery was a bit tougher than I remembered.

        Hope you have a good week! L.

  2. I’m in for this challenge. Yay! Now I just have to pick some books. I’m not sure I have Pinocchio but I’ll take a look. I completely missed your appeal for suggestions or I would have given you several. Mind you, you may be happy that I missed it. 😉 Thanks for hosting again, Amanda!

  3. Ha ha ha I win the vote by default! I have a copy of the Parella translation nearby; it looks terrific. Italian is surprisingly readable, up to a (quick, limited) point.

    I am not against that Lucas translation in principle but in practice – I mean if the practice is to get a better idea of what the Italian novel is really like – no way, forget it.

    DIsney’s Pinocchio is perhaps darker and scarier than many people remember.

    The Classic Children’s Lit challenge is such a good idea. I am a little surprised there are not more book blogs writing on the subject on a more or less full-time basis. So rich. Maybe I should have saved that Christina Rossetti book for January. Maybe I will come up with something else so I can join in, something aside from Pinocchio.

    1. My local library has the Brock translation, so I’ll probably read that. I think my problem with reading Italian (or Spanish) is that I get too hung up on trying to understand every word, so I bog myself down. I’ll actually–assuming I have time–likely read Pinocchio in Italian as well as the English, but by reading an English translation, I should be able to not get so caught up in the details. I hope.

      My childhood memory of Disney movies is that they are all darker and scarier than most seem to give them credit for.

      Thanks! I hope you find something else to join in with. It does seem surprising that there aren’t more children’s classics readers–but then again there are so many options to choose from.

  4. I’m not yet sure if I will be able to take part, but I have my eye on this event. Will see if I have time for one of my Narnia books or a George MacDonald. 🙂

  5. I have the Heritage Press edition of Pinocchio with illustrations by Richard Floethe. I’ve always been quite fond of it but I don’t know about the relative worth of the translation. I’ll look forward to the readalong, and hope to read at least one other children’s classic in January!

    1. Welcome! I look forward to you joining in. I’ve found it hard to find too much about the merits of different Pinocchio translations, as most searches turn up more about the Disney version or simplified children’s editions than they do about translations.

  6. Hi there. I saw a post over on Cleo’s blog about your January event. While I don’t have the time to read Pinocchio with you, I hope to read a few children’s classics with the kids over Christmas break and will post in January. You have some beautiful buttons for your event!

    1. Thanks, I enjoyed making the buttons! I completely count reading in December and posting in January if that is what allows you to participate. I hope you enjoy reading with your kids!

    1. Thank you and welcome! I have the advantage of already owning Pinocchio, but I completely understand wanting to read from the shelves–I probably should make more of an effort to do that next year. I will check your post out shortly!

  7. I’ve been so being in keeping up with everyone’s blog post and Twitter feeds that I too missed the call for suggestions for the read-Along. I feel bad you only got one suggestion, I know Cleo and myself could have overload you with ideas. 😉

    I’m happy with the suggestion you did get, I will be read Pinocchio.

    I’m in again this year, thank you for hosting again! Here is my joining the fun post.

    1. Thanks for joining in again, I’m happy to see you back! I understand how easy it is to miss posts/tweets–I do it all the time. I do have a number of ideas myself (already thinking about next year!), but had wanted to let others an opportunity to voice opinion. I think it worked out okay, though, since quite a few people seem interested in Pinoccchio. I will check your post out shortly!

  8. I’m joining in! Excited about this as I have many children’s classics I want to re or re-read, and I have a healthy obsession with children’s literature! 🙂 So glad I discovered your blog and this challenge. Probably will start with Huckleberry Finn first!

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