Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Picture Book Pleasure and Scholarship

Reading to a two-year-old is a recursive activity. I want to go through a book linearly, but we progress only so far before my daughter wants to go back pages and repeat. And when we do get to the end of a story, it's regularly time to read it again. It's like 1001 Nights or something; one is caught in a literary loop.

The do-list ("let's get this over with") and suspense ("let's see what happens next") paradigms both favor linear reading. Scholarship favors recursiveness, and just may begin with a two-year-old's instinctual randomness.


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