Texts for our times? Children’s books for grown-ups by David Buckingham
This article has been published on the David Buckingham website. It begins:
Over the past couple of years, one of the most lucrative publishing sensations in the UK has been the parody children’s book. The cycle began in 2014 when an artist, Miriam Elia, produced We Go To the Gallery. A small, card-bound book of 20 double-page spreads, it was initially intended as an independently published art project. The book is a kind of spoof or parody of the massively successful 1960s series for beginning readers, Ladybird Books: it appears under the imprint ‘Dung Beetle’. Each page shows ‘Mummy’ and her two children John and Susan as they encounter the works at a contemporary art gallery. At the bottom of the page, in the manner familiar from the original Ladybirds, are three ‘new words’ to add to the reader’s vocabulary – although in this case they include words like ‘feminist’, ‘violate’ and ‘capitalist’.