From School Library Journal
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Editor Zipes (a highly regarded author of works on folktales and fairy tales, for whom there should have been an entry!) touts the "breadth and depth" of content, and these are indeed what set this publication apart as a must-have for any library with reference works on literature in English. Signed entries from more than 800 international scholars range in length from a paragraph or two to essays of one or more pages, with a brief bibliography (for example, Germany; Multiculturalism; Tolkien, J. R. R.). Articles are written in a clear and consistent style. Biographies highlight the subject's unique contribution or approach: Oodgeroo Noonuccal's work in the early 1970s was an impetus for "increasing production for children by Aboriginal authors and artists," Arthur C. Clarke's work balances "science and a sense of wonder," and Robert Sabuda's pop-ups have "raised the profile . . and expanded the age range" for this art form. Longer entries on countries and other topics are often nicely divided into sections on historical periods, influential factors, or types of literature, such as "The Old Stories" and "Bridges between Two Worlds" in Asian American literature. Black-and-white graphics, such as examples of illustrations or author photos, occasionally punctuate the attractive page design.
The last volume includes additional resources: a selected bibliography; lists of winners for 25 major awards from the U.S., UK, Canada, and other countries; a directory of major world collections of children's literature with contact data and Web sites; the topical outline; a directory of contributors, their affiliations, and entries; and an excellent, detailed index that seems to cover each and every person or title mentioned in the text. Some typographical errors were noted in passing, such as "Oliver B. Miller" in Watty Piper; "Eeyore's tale" in Milne, A. A.; and the mutation of the final letter diacritic to a "2" on several entries in the index (for example, Filopovic2, Zlata), though not the entry text.
The impossibility of being an all-inclusive reference is admitted in the preface and evident in the omission of entries for Olive Beaupre Miller, who started a publishing company in Chicago and produced the very successful and beloved My Book House multivolume collection of children's stories for most of the twentieth century; Meg Cabot, American author of The Princess Diaries and its follow-ups, popular in both Britain and the U.S.; and Horn Book Magazine. There is a good deal of unique biographical and topical content remaining in other Oxford reference books on children's literature, as well as in many other titles found in larger collections, among them The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English (2001) and Gale's Something About the Author series (with access to more than 10,000 author biobibliographies). Still, librarians and users will head for the authoritative volumes of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature more often than not as an excellent starting point for queries. Recommended for most libraries. Deborah Rollins
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