Saturday, January 29, 2011

Charles Keeping: The Highwayman

So I was re-reading Charles Keeping tonight in an effort to perhaps see something there that I hadn't seen before and to convince myself that I should agree with it receiving the Kate Greenaway medal that it did in 1981.

Yes, I am desperately trying to find something that would make me want to agree to give it this award because I grew up with all sorts of scary stories when I was little in Germany like about ghost ships and dead horse heads that hung in alleys that talked (Falada) and sisters that got murdered by being rolled down the hill in a barrel with nails in it (the original Cinderalla)... and so yes, I am a bit supporter of letting children also be exposed to stories that can be scary but still, I just can't get over how super gruesome this book is and how I would NOT want to read it to any child!
Maybe when they'd be at least 9, and even then.... I don't know....

The illustrations which are amazing no doubt, are adding so much extra horror to the Alfred Noyes poem that would otherwise be up to the listener themselves to decided just how scary they want to make it. It's a great example of how illustration can add to the text and make it richer. And yes, I think it's an fantastic work by Keeping, amazing really, BUT... I do not think it should have received the Kate Greenaway medal which is awarded by Children's Librarians for illustration in Children's Literature and young readers. It seems a bit of the wrong category. What do you think?

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