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Wild Things

Nonfiction: Biography, Literacy, and History
Unabridged   7.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/15/2017

An AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Wild Things

The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681687896
Digital Download ISBN:9781681687902


It's a profound, eye-opening experience to reencounter books that you once treasured after decades apart. A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children's books and authors from Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum to Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Mildred D. Taylor, and E.B. White, Wild Things will bring back fond memories for readers of all ages, along with a few surprises.

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Product Description

In 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children's book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as "Strive to learn" and "Be not a dunce," it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to "Let the wild rumpus start"? And now that we're living in a golden age of children's literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie?

In Wild Things, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bruce Handy revisits the classics of every American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the back stories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes are shared by The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy's Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby.


"Bruce Handy, author and narrator, has a style that is conversational, erudite, and humorous." —AudioFile

“Handy clearly communicates his enthusiasm for rereading the books; listeners can easily imagine him sitting next to his children’s bed reading to them.” —Publishers Weekly audio review

"Highly engaging . . . As well-researched as it is seamlessly composed, this book entertains as it educates." —Kirkus Starred Review

"[An] absolutely delightful book. . . . one of the very best books of its sort in, well, ever. Encore! Encore!" —Booklist Starred Review

"[A] spirited, perceptive, and just outright funny account of reading childhood favorites through adult eyes." —Publishers Weekly

"The book succeeds wonderfully . . . a consistently intelligent and funny companion, Handy offers considerably more than charismatic trivia." —New York Times

“Brilliant, revelatory, and endlessly entertaining. I’ve read these books a thousand times, but only now do I finally understand them.” —Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy

“From the moment I picked up Wild Things, I couldn’t put it down—I only wish the book were ten times longer. It was a joy to learn more about so many of my favorite masterpieces of children’s literature.” —Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

Author Bio

Bruce Handy is currently a contributing editor of Vanity Fair. A former writer and editor at Spy and Time, his articles, essays, reviews, and humor pieces have appeared in such publications as the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and others. Wild Things is his first book.