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Reading Series Fiction: From Arthur Ransome to Gene Kemp Paperback – 17 Aug 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (17 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041522702X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415227025
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 1.4 x 29.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 849,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"This is a refreshingly original for children's literary studies, being one of the first to look in detail at a surprisingly neglected phenomenon: series fiction.Watson's writing is always exciting, not only for its insights but also for the graceful way in which he expresses them, often recreating the frisson of the ideas themselves.."
-Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 2001

About the Author

Victor Watson is Assistant Director of Research at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, and a Trustee of the Centre for the Children's Book.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a critical work making the case for good writing for children, this book examines and illuminates what the author calls 'the invisible excellence' behind series fiction by Arthur Ransome, Antonia Forest, Lucy Boston, Susan Cooper, Malcolm Saville and Gene Kemp, among others. Watson's cogent analyses of the various series display the quality of their authors' writing for what it is indeed worth. His argument may be vindicated, most recently, by Faber's October 2000 re-issue of Autumn Term, the first book in Antonia Forest's impeccable but woefully neglected (and otherwise out-of-print) series about the Marlows. Recognition for a series of this calibre is perhaps long overdue. All in all, this book makes a powerful stand for a genre that constitutes a large portion of children's and young adults' reading, but whose inherent literary excellence is denied the critical attention it deserves. Highly recommended.
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Having just gone through the Ransome series and re-reading the Marlow exploits, I was delighted to find this book giving context and critical insights on the British children's literature of that period. Really enjoyed it and noted some titles to follow up! I couldn't agree more with the chapter on the sizable chapter on Antonia Forest ("Jane Austen has gone missing"), especially the concluding sentiment that her books being largely out of print "must amount to the worst publishing misjudgement in the history of children's books in Britain". How can this be righted? Could I perhaps suggest that Dr (Prof?) Watson spearheads a move to get AF into the GCSEs? There's been a movement towards including more books by British authors, and the quality of writing and diverse topics explored in AF's books certainly recommends them. Once mandated, AF should remain in print as robustly as Jane Austen! This is even more so the case for the MYP curriculum - you could instantly see so much lateral potential here: "Ready Made Family" with "Persuasion" and child kidnaps in China, "Attic Term" with Paul Gallico (I'm thinking of Eddi's Service and The Small Miracle) and mod music arrangements, "Falconer's Lure" with any number of topics on horses, photography, hawking, and the economics of keeping landed property (a common enough setting to many a good novel and an opportunity for delving into any relevant history.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Series Fiction, despite its dull title, is a highly entertaining and lucid account of the place of story series in juvenile books. There are essays on eight authors plus two more general discussions, ranging from the very well known (Arthur Ransome and Enid Blyton) to more neglected writers such as Nancy Blackett and Antonia Forest.

I particularly relished the Forest section ("Jane Austen has Gone Missing") and found myself mentally cheering at his conclusion that her work should never have gone out of print. His deep reading also helps explain why her work continues to attract something of a cult following despite publishers' mis-marketing.

Elsewhere, Watson's account of Enid Blyton's enduring success is amusing. Whilst sharing teacherly distaste at her lack of literary quality, he feels he must also account for her phenomenal sales. "Claiming a place for children's reading choices" indeed!

Overall, this (fairly slender) tome is well worth its price tag. I was introduced to new authors, past and present, and was given fresh insight into those writers whose work I already enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
Got this because I had been following Antonia Forest and Malcolm Saville on websites, as I had read them when young! Very useful book, academic but accessible - and I agreed with (almost) everything author wrote!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable history of children's book series 11 May 2011
By D. E. H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A readable and accessible analysis of a number of children's book series, this book focuses on British, rather than American authors. An extensive section is devoted to Arthur Ransome, but L. M. Boston, Susan Cooper, Enid Blyton, and Antonia Forest (among others) are also included. Watson's analysis of the literary qualities of these authors is enlightening and readers interested in British popular fiction for children should find much to savor here.
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