Sunday morning I caught the last few minutes of Pollyanna: Spirit of Optimism Born Out of War on National Public Radio. I've never read the book, and have fond memories of the Disney movie only because I was a big Hayley Mills fan and she played the the title character. In fact, Mills is interviewed as part of the NPR program. Doesn't her voice sound marvelous? And have I given away my age by droning on about her?
Interesting points in the NPR program:
NPR claims the Golden Age of Children's Literature came to an end at the beginning of the twentieth century. Clearly, I need to read a book on kidlit history.
Pollyanna was hugely popular, though you'd never know that now. As someone who's interested in history, I'm fascinated when I hear about things--and books, in particular--that were highly regarded in their time but then pass from popular interest. Or, as in the case of Pollyanna, even become unpopular. It makes me wonder about what will happen to the things we love now.
Jerry Griswold, a professor of children's literature at San Diego State University, who was also interviewed as part of the NPR program, wrote about Pollyanna in The New York Times back in 1987.