Children's Folklore: A Handbook

Children's Folklore: A Handbook

Children's Folklore: A Handbook

Children's Folklore: A Handbook

Synopsis

Children have their own games, stories, riddles, and so forth. This book gives students and general readers an introduction to children's folklore. Included are chapters on the definition and classification of children's folklore, the presence of children's folklore in literature and popular culture, and the scholarly interpretation of children's folklore. The volume also includes a wide range of examples and texts demonstrating the variety of children's folklore around the world.

Excerpt

Like other researchers in the field of children’s folklore, I have enjoyed discovering the remarkable range of children’s traditions. Children demonstrate their creativity by coming up with new versions of old rhymes, songs, narratives, and other expressive forms; they also tend to preserve certain patterns that have pleased previous generations of young people. While doing research for this book, I have collected legends and songs that resembled the ones I learned as a child in the 1950s and 1960s. I have also learned that my students, who have grown up in a world different from the one I knew during childhood, have cherished some of the same traditions, including making forts out of couch cushions and playing games on neighborhood streets.

This handbook provides an overview of children’s folklore since the late 1800s, with particular attention to material that has emerged since the publication of relatively recent analytical surveys of children’s folklore: Children’s Folklore: A Source Book, edited by Brian Sutton-Smith, Jay Mechling, Thomas W. Johnson, and Felicia R. McMahon (1995) and American Children’s Folklore by Simon J. Bronner (1988). Since the handbook cannot cover all children’s folklore, it offers texts that represent major genres and areas of study. Most examples and texts come from English-speaking countries, but some come from other parts of the world.

The first chapter of this handbook traces the development of children’s folklore study from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century, with attention to reflections of social and political change and connections between children’s folklore and education. Chapter 1 also examines issues related to fieldwork with children. Chapter 2 defines key terms, including those that identify genres of children’s folklore. Examples and texts appear in chapter 3, which provides contextual information for each item of folklore. Chapter 4 covers children’s folklore scholarship from its earliest days to our current era, and chapter 5 . . .

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