Critical Approaches to Food in Children’s Literature  book cover
1st Edition

Critical Approaches to Food in Children’s Literature

ISBN 9780415808910
Published August 15, 2011 by Routledge
290 Pages

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Book Description

Critical Approaches to Food in Children’s Literature is the first scholarly volume on the topic, connecting children's literature to the burgeoning discipline of food studies. Following the lead of historians like Mark Kurlansky, Jeffrey Pilcher and Massimo Montanari, who use food as a fundamental node for understanding history, the essays in this volume present food as a multivalent signifier in children’s literature, and make a strong argument for its central place in literature and literary theory.

Written by some of the most respected scholars in the field, the essays between these covers tackle texts from the nineteenth century (Rudyard Kipling’s Kim) to the contemporary (Dave Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series), the U.S. multicultural (Asian-American) to the international (Ireland, Brazil, Mexico). Spanning genres such as picture books, chapter books, popular media, and children’s cookbooks, contributors utilize a variety of approaches, including archival research, cultural studies, formalism, gender studies, post-colonialism, post-structuralism, race studies, structuralism, and theology. Innovative and wide-ranging, Critical Approaches to Food in Children’s Literature provides us with a critical opportunity to puzzle out the significance of food in children’s literature.

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword


Part I. Introduction

1. Introduction

Kara K. Keeling and Scott T. Pollard

Part II. Reading as Cooking

2. Delicious Supplements: Literary Cookbooks as Additives to Children’s Texts

Jodie Slothower and Jan Susina

Part III. Girls, Mothers, Children

3. Recipe for Reciprocity and Repression: The Politics of Cooking and Consumption in Girls’ Coming-of-Age Literature

Holly Blackford

4. The Apple of her Eye: The Mothering Ideology Fed by Bestselling Trade Picture Books

Lisa Rowe Fraustino

Part IV. Food and the Body

5. Nancy Drew and the "F" Word

Leona W. Fisher

6. To Eat and Be Eaten in Nineteenth-century Children’s Literature

Jacqueline M. Labbe

7. Voracious Appetites: The Construction of "Fatness" in the Boy Hero in English Children’s Literature

Jean Webb

Part V. Global/Multicultural/Post-colonial Food

8. "The Eaters of Everything": Etiquettes of Empire in Kipling’s Narratives of Imperial Boys

Winnie Chan

9. Eating Different, Looking Different: Food in the Asian-American Childhood

Lan Dong

10. The Potato Eaters: Food Collection in Irish Famine Literature for Children

Karen Hill McNamara

11. The Keys to the Kitchen: Cooking and Latina Power in Latin(o) American Children’s Stories

Genny Ballard

12. Sugar or Spice? The Flavor of Gender Self-Identity in an Example of Brazilian Children’s Literature

Richard Vernon

Part VI. Through Food the/a Self

13. Oranges of Paradise: The Orange as Symbol of Escape and Loss in Children’s Literature

James Everett

14. Trials of Taste: Ideological "Food Fights" in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

Elizabeth Gargano

15. A Consuming Tradition: Candy and Socio-religious Identity Formation in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Robert M. Kachur

16. Prevailing Culinary, Psychological, and Metaphysical Conditions: Meatballs and Reality

Martha Satz

17. "The Attack of the Inedible Hunk!": Food, Language, and Power in the Captain Underpants Series

Annette Wannamaker



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Kara K. Keeling and Scott T. Pollard have published articles on food and children’s literature in Children’s Literature in Education and Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit: A Children’s Classic at 100. They are working on their own book-length study of the topic. Both teach in the English Department at Christopher Newport University, Keeling specializing in children’s and young adult literature, and Pollard in world literature and critical theory.