A to Z: Zoo Girl


Here at the end of the challenge, as we reach our Zed, I want to talk a little about this project as a whole. It’s been interesting but difficult. Outside of the challenge, I’ve been finishing up a school semester, planning for and celebrating Little Jedi’s birthday, enrolling him in school for the fall, and dealing with all the other things that come with living a life off-screen. And then there’s been the challenge itself, which required writing essentially one literary essay a day. In the middle of that, I decided to participate in the Great Villain Blogathon and wrote about Hannibal Lecter. I should’ve had some posts stored up, and if I do this next year, I think I’ll make more of an effort to store up some posts.

I’m aware that there’s little racial diversity among the characters, something that has been and is, unfortunately, not terribly uncommon in published children’s literature. Girls and minorities are underrepresented in English language children’s literature; minority girls are extremely underrepresented. In choosing the canonical works (as I’ve often had to for exams’ sake), and doing so while assembling a list of only 30 texts, too many things have been left out; in choosing 26 characters whose names start with different parts of the alphabet, many more things have been left out.

Perhaps those others will get their blog posts eventually. It’s likely that they will. But there’s something else I haven’t really done…I haven’t really talked about picture books during this particular challenge. That has been by design–I’ve wanted to focus on YA literature, as my dissertation will be about female adolescence, and I’ve tried to mostly use characters that are from books on my comprehensive exams lists. These posts do double duty–they’re for the blog, of course, but they’re also for studying.

But today, on the last day of A to Z, I want to leave you with two girls’ picture books.

The first is Zoo Girl, a deceptively simple picture book. Zoo Girl tells the story of an orphaned girl, abandoned at the zoo and taken care of by the animals, and how she finally finds her family. It’s charming and sad and colorful. Even though it only has 14 words, it’s not really a quick read. Reading the pictures is important: the faces of Zoo Girl and of the animals help to tell the story in a way that more words would not.

This fantastic storyboard came from Rebecca Elliot's blog, http://retrodoodler.blogspot.co.uk/
This fantastic storyboard came from Rebecca Elliot’sblog, http://retrodoodler.blogspot.co.uk/

And here is where I leave you, readers, at least for today. Tomorrow, look for a Once a Month Gamer post from contributor Lyn. Friday, there will likely be a return of the bathroom graffiti series, and in the coming weeks, I’ll return to the neglected Whoseries and some conversations about video gaming.



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