(This was first written for my History of Youth Literature class.)
Published just last year, Chloe by Peter McCarty (2012) is a book about Chloe, the middle child of a large rabbit family (ten older siblings and ten younger siblings!) who encourages her family to play creatively instead of just sitting in front of the TV during their “family fun time.” This book is responding to the media overload that children are facing today and goes back to older values, with a large family and a “father knows best” attitude (although from this study, earlier picture books seem to focus on the mothers). In the end, however, even her father secretly plays with the bubble wrap Chloe shows them is more fun than TV.
Many recent picture books like Chloe seem to want to take us back to the “good old days” of childhood. However, instead of just circling back and writing the same stories as those from the beginning of the 1900s, these newer books improve on the old ideas and incorporate those values into diverse settings that better reflect reality. The roles of the parents in these books also reflect the shift in family dynamics from the mother as the primary caregiver to both parents sharing parenting responsibilities and ultimately respecting the child as an individual.
Chloe is probably my favorite find of the semester so far. I loved it so much that I bought a copy for my cousin’s 1-year-old (she has a Miffy-themed room, so it kind of fits :D). For more about Chloe, check out the video Peter McCarty has on his website.
This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter C.