Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Report on a Hissing Match with a Dead Guy

For the Love of Narnia in The Chronicle of Education is being talked about at Child_Lit today. In Love of Narnia, Michael Nelson (a poli sci professor???) responds to criticism of C.S. Lewis from Philip Pullman.

Most of the quoted complaints from Pullman I've read before, though I can't remember where. I think I must have read the original article Nelson is responding to. Reading Pullman's opinions on anything can be fun because he isn't exactly a subtle debater. You don't have to guess where he stands on any subject.

In his article, Nelson places Lewis and Pullman at opposing ends of...uh...I don't know...the spectrum of religious writers for kids? Lewis is described as an "outspoken defender of the faith," meaning Christianity. Pullman is called "avowedly atheistic." "The Christian religion," one of Pullman's main characters blandly explains," (according to Nelson) "is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all."

What I find so intriguing about all this is that, as I've admitted before, I totally didn't get Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is supposed to be a Christian fable. Nor did I get the second two books in Pullman's anti-Christian His Dark Materials trilogy.

They both lost me.

I Know Some Adults Who Are Going to be Really Upset About This

Stan Berenstain, co-creator of the Berenstain Bears, has died after a long and, I hope, very happy life.

The obit carried by
The New York Times included some of the complaints made about the books over the years. As usual, I missed a lot of that stuff while I was reading them to and with my boys. We used to pick up new Bear books after long trips to the grocery store. We've got a stack of them up in our attic now.

Once upon a time, happiness was a shiny, new Berenstain Bear book. If only that were still the case.

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