TLG 13.2 Introduction

Frame of Reference


David Beagley

A television station in my area, that prides itself on its international coverage, uses the advertising slogan "News from home - if you live in the world!"

This issue of The Looking Glass has that focus too - the world of reading and readers, the world of literature, the world of analysis. We have articles from, or about, Ireland, Cyprus, the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia. Issues as diverse as politics, tourism, visually impaired readers, easy reading texts and book collecting are covered. Famous characters like Carroll's Alice, Montgomery's Anne, Johns' Biggles and Marshall's Fox pop up, showing us that we are all part of a very big picture.

Was John Donne prescient and predicting the internet when he wrote in 1624 "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;"? Probably not, but the idea holds, that we are all linked (both humanly and electronically) and that what each of us want or does matters. And that certainly includes our children and their literature.

In Alice's Academy Petros Panaou explores the representation of Irish nationhood in two contrasting picture books, Michael Foreman's War and Peas and Gabriel Rosenstock's Naomh Pádraig agus Crom Dubh. As Alice editor, Caroline Jones notes, it is a daunting task in several ways, observing from outside the nation group and looking at it through the world and literature of children. This is a challenging article and we hope that readers consider these ideas and take them further.

Shannon Ozirny, in Emerging Voices, takes us into the quirky world of James Marshall's Fox to argue that beneath the deceptively simple surface of the easy reader can swirl complex and clever ideas. Fox is never predictable and the paths Marshall opens for his readers can take them to some very interesting places!

Kimberley Gotches' essay in Picture Window considers the recent evolution of the picture book and the range of options that are now opening up for both creators of the books and their readers (of all ages). As the picture has long been considered a major signifier of a child audience of literature, the increasing role of comics, manga and anime in general book design, as well as the multi-media crossover of cinematic forms, is taking this perception of audience much, much wider.

Jabberwocky brings a diverse collection of pieces. In a follow-up to Ruth Allen's article on book collecting in our last issue, Stuart Kidd explains how online sources have helped him build his library of Biggles books. Kathleen Miller takes us to Prince Edward Island to see how both the well-established tourist market and formal literary critical interest in the Anne of Green Gables stories is evolving into a broader analysis of LM Montgomery as a person and author. The final article is an explanation by Paul Morris of La Trobe University of his design for a kit container for tactile and aural material to support the reading of children with visually difficulties.

And our quick trip around our home, the world, brings us back to our journal's home in Wonderland, with a review of the British Library's facsimile edition of Charles Dodson's 1864 letter to Alice Liddell with the original written version of Alice's Adventures under Ground.

So, welcome to the world, welcome home, enjoy the ride!


David Beagley

Volume 13, Issue 2 The Looking Glass, May/June, 2009

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"Frame of Reference - Introduction"
© David Beagley, 2009.
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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

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