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Do myths and folklore damage children’s brains?

Surely not — but in their introduction to Children’s Fantasy Literature, Michael Levy and Farah Mendlesohn remind us that expertly crafted fantasy is unnervingly hard to resist

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction Michael Levy and Farah Mendlesohn

CUP, pp.274, £16.99, ISBN: 9781107610293

First Light: A Celebration of Alan Garner edited by Erica Wagner

Unbound, pp.302, £20, ISBN: 9781783522521

Children’s fantasy literature has never been just one thing. Animal fables, folk and fairy tales were not originally intended for a child audience, while the relatively recent phenomenon that is entertaining (rather than principally didactic) children’s literature has many origins that are not fantastic at all. Michael Levy and Farah Mendlesohn draw a line — well, many lines — from these assorted beginnings to today’s world, in which fantasy specifically aimed at young readers is a large and noisy part of the publishing market, but still very far from a single coherent one.

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