My son’s obsession with specific books comes in waves, and right now one of the books he loves is The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. It’s a lovely book on many levels, and I like the small details in it — like the “friend from across the hall.” What’s that? A character that does not live in a single-family dwelling?
It seems like most children’s books, even if not explicitly set in the suburbs or on a farm, have an implicitly rural or suburban setting — single-family dwellings, traveling by car instead of on foot or via transit, etc. (Yes, there are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Harriet the Spy, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but they are many years down the road from us.) Most of my son’s books feature animals, not humans, which obviously increases the fraction of books with rural settings. Even if I only include books with anthropomorphized animals (i.e. the Li’l Critter books), here are my son’s books sorted by setting: rural and suburban on the left, and urban on the right. Read the rest of this entry →