File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 199

Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 18:30:23 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Talking Animals

For sure! And look at the musical, "Wicked". The citizens of OZ were  
trying to stop the animals from being human-like. Then there is  

Mary Horsley

On Apr 14, 2009, at 3:41 PM, wrote:

> The reasons that animals talk in folk and fairy tales are numerous.  
> They can represent various things -- from emotions, desires,  
> character types, or, like in the Narnian tales, Christ.
> I'm not sure what children's literature would be like without  
> talking animals.
> Rolande
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> To:
> Sent: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 7:19 am
> Subject: [Puptcrit] Talking Animals
> Dear All--
> In reference to a previous e-mail I sent, something of a tirade in
> reference to the joys of anthropomorphism, I offer this odd  anecdote.
> By way of intro, I teach in the public schools, and German is one  
> subject
> I teach. Because the textbooks available on the market offer no  
> stories that
> appeal to me-- most nowadays are modern conversations about  
> schoolwork or
> travel  or friends-- I have written a few fairy tales in German,  
> because the
> textbooks  of a hundred years ago more often had fables, fairy  
> tales, and
> heroic  tales, which are more challenging linguistically, but more  
> fun to
> struggle  though. Besides, the Germans have a grand tradition of  
> fairy tales
> and heroic  tales.
> That being said, I was speaking to another teacher friend, who was   
> talking
> about retiring, and I asked him how he would keep from getting bored  
> in
> retirement. He said he was thinking about illustrating children's  
> books, as he
> had been an artist most of his life, and he had a brother who was a
> publisher of  such things. I mentioned that I had written some  
> stories, but one
> was my  favorite, and it would be nice to see it printed. He was  
> interested,
> so I  translated it into English for him, and with some nervousness  
> handed it
> over. He seemed pretty excited, and read it over a few times and got  
> back
> to me  the next day.
> The upshot was, he told me that his grandmother had told him  
> children's
> stories should never have talking animals in them. (The story  
> involves a
> bear, a fish, an old woman, and a jester. They all talk, and the  
> bear is the
> main character.) This teacher asked me if I could just change the  
> story a
> little so that all the talking and plot manipulation could involve  
> the  old
> woman and the jester, so that the bear wouldn't have to talk --  
> never mind  the
> fish.
> My mouth was hanging open. I really could not argue very coherently,
> because on such a subject, the waters run too deep. All I could say  
> was that I
> had read endless stories for children in which animals talked, and the
> teacher  said, yes, but his grandmother had written children's  
> fiction -- as if
> that made  her the last court of appeal. Yes, I could have said all  
> kinds of
> clever things,  but if an illustrator feels animals shouldn't talk,  
> then he
> obviously can't  illustrate the story. So I told him the point wasn't
> negotiable; end of  story.
> Except it didn't end there. My head was buzzing for days about all=2
> 0the
> things I should have said -- Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh,  
> Grimm's
> Tales, and on and on. I felt guilty for all the grand books I had  
> not defended.
> Then I resolved to overcome all the technical difficulties which  had
> prevented us from doing the story as a puppet show, just to get  the  
> thing out
> of my system. So spring begins, and I'm back to carving, starting   
> with the
> poor, maligned bear, who shouldn't be allowed to talk because he is  
> in  a
> children's story. And the look on his face -- hopeful, yet  
> bewildered and lost
> -- I know it's my face, because that's just how I felt, hearing from  
> a 
> friend  that animals shouldn't talk in children's stories.
> What a world,
> Alice
> **************The Average US Credit Score is 692. See Yours in Just  
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> ( 
> %3
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