The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

By Humphrey Carpenter; Mari Prichard | Go to book overview


Nana, dog-nursemaid in PETER PAN by J. M. BARRIE.

Nancy Blackett, in the SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS books by Arthur RANSOME.

Nancy Cock's Pretty Song Book for all Little Misses and Masters, an early collection of NURSERY RHYMES, published c. 1780 by John MARSHALL. Collections under the same title were issued by other printers, with different contents.

Nancy Drew, a blonde teenage DETECTIVE in novels by Carolyn Keene (USA, published during the 1970s).

Nanny, as a term applied to a children's nurse, was in use at least occasionally as early as 1711, when it appears in a letter from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu to her old nurse. However it did not become universal in English-speaking countries until after the First World War. See Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy , The Rise and Fall of the British Nanny ( 1972).

Narnia, an imaginary country, setting of seven children's books by C. S. LEWIS: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ( 1950), Prince Caspian: the return to Narnia ( 1951), The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader' ( 1952), The Silver Chair ( 1953), The Horse and his Boy ( 1954), The Magician's Nephew ( 1955), and The Last Battle ( 1956), which won the CARNEGIE MEDAL.

The immediate inspiration for the first book was a series of nightmares that Lewis had about lions. More seriously, he was concerned to do for children what he had done for an adult readership in his SCIENCE FICTION trilogy, beginning with Out of the Silent Planet ( 1938): to re-imagine the Christian story in an exciting narrative context. 'Narnia' was to be an answer (as Lewis put it) to the question 'What might Christ be like if there really were a world like Narnia and he chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as he actually has done in ours.' So the children who journey through the wardrobe in the first book, and others who make the 'journey to Narnia in the sequels, experience the chief events of Christianity, described as they might happen in another world-- the earliest and most obvious example being the death and resurrection of the great lion Asian in the first book.

The novels are not, however, allegorical; they are entirely in keeping with the belief, shared by Lewis and his close friend and Oxford colleague TOLKIEN, that stories in themselves, especially of the mythical type, can give spiritual nourishment without imparting abstract meaning. The books have a very obvious debt to George MACDONALD, whose writings played a large part in Lewis's intellectual development, and they also reflect his childhood enthusiasm for Hans ANDERSEN, E. NESBIT, and the NORSE MYTHS, which he first encountered in a retelling illustrated by Arthur RACKHAM.

The Narnia books incorporate many of Lewis's personal prejudices and quirks--for example, the cowardliness and meanness of Eustace in The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader' is put down to the fact that he is the child of 'up-to-date and advanced people . . . vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotallers' ( Lewis himself drank robustly and was a pipe-smoker). Yet the books are, as Naomi LEWIS has written, 'intoxicating' to all but the most relentlessly unimaginative of readers, and must be judged the most sustained achievement in FANTASY for children by a 20th-cent. author.

Katharine PATERSON'S novel Bridge to Terabitha ( 1978), which won the NEWBERY MEDAL, is about two children who are inspired by the Narnia books to invent their own magic kingdom.

NASH, OGDEN ( 1902-71), American comic poet, aimed one of his books of verse specifically at children: Parents Keep Out ( 1951).

National Book Award, given annually since 1969 by the National Book Committee of America, for an outstanding American children's book.

National Velvet ( 1930), a sensationally successful story by the British novelist and playwright Enid Bagnold ( 1889-1981), the story of a 14-year-old girl, Velvet Brown, who acquires a horse (The Piebald) in a raffle, and eventually wins the Grand National on it. The book was filmed in 1944 with Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet, and contributed to the establishment of the PONY STORY as a popular genre of fiction for girls.

Natty Bumppo, hero of the LEATHER-STOCKING TALES by James Fenimore COOPER.

Natural history was a popular subject from the beginning of British juvenile publishing; A DESCRIPTION OF THREE HUNDRED ANIMALS ( 1730), published (and probably written) by Thomas BOREMAN, was one of the first books that could justly be described as 'for the entertainment of youth'. It drew on the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xiv
  • A 1
  • B 40
  • C 92
  • D 139
  • E 160
  • F 173
  • G 194
  • H 234
  • I 268
  • J 274
  • K 287
  • L 300
  • M 327
  • N 370
  • O 385
  • P 393
  • Q 436
  • R 437
  • S 466
  • T 513
  • U 549
  • W 559
  • Y 583
  • Z 587


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 594

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.