Portrayal of Myth, Folklore & Fairy Tales in Children Literature & its Adaptations in the Contemporary Scenario

Dr. Shamenaz, Associate Professor (English), Dept. of Applied Sciences & Humanities, Allahabad Institute of Engineering & Technology, Allahabad.                                                           

The tradition of storytelling to children is not only a tradition of India but in rest of the world also. Stories have been told from one generation to other from centuries and have become a part of culture & tradition of countries around the world. Stories were told to the children not only for amusement but also for inspiration and motivation. Story telling which means to convey events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation and embellishment. People often use myths & folklore in their stories which is prevalent still now. Different cultures have different myths, folks & legends to convey it through stories. Sometimes interpretations of common myths vary from culture to culture. So, the tradition of storytelling to children also varies from place to place. The popularities of these stories have led into the growth of a new genre known as children literature.

It is believed that the genre known as Children’s literature started in the 17th century and before that no attention was given to the children as readers, as books were written mainly for adults. And there were less work because the printed works were too expensive for the middle class or the lower class. But to cater the needs of the people and to make everyone read literature and to increase the markets of books, there were lots of experiments being carried out in the world of writing and then came this genre which is known as children literature.

According to the ‘United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ defines a child as “a human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”. It is obvious that the term ‘Children literature’ means literature written by the children. But there are different opinions regarding children literature as defined by many people. Some people views that books written by children, some people says that books written for children, some have the opinion that books chosen for children, and other says that books chosen by children. So, it is difficult to say that, who is right or wrong?  But we can say that there are many views and definition regarding children literature and children literature is itself a contradiction.

Myths are a part of the storytelling from the ancient times and still in today’s world of science & technology it is considered as an integral part. Myths are actually traditional, typical ancient stories which are often related with the culture and religion of the country it belongs. Supernatural elements, ancestors and superheroes are a part of it. Often in the stories based on myths, the main characters are gods or demi-gods dealing with religious issue as the backdrop to give message to the people. In the same way it is often believed that the term ‘folklore’ means those traditional beliefs, myths, tales and practices of the people which are prevalent from the olden times. An English antiquarian William Thoms was the one who coined the term ‘folklore’ in a letter published in the London journal, The Anthenaeum in 1846. (313) And fairy tales means the legendry deeds and creatures, usually intended for children. We can also say that myths, folklore and fairy tales are terms which seems to have a same meaning: fanciful tales. Though it is a world with modern advancement but these myths, folklore and fairytales forms the base of storytelling worldwide and children literature is one of the genres which are largely influenced by it. It is believed that Carl Jung postulated that:

‘humankind has a “collective unconscious, “a kind of universal

psyche, which is manifested in dreams and myths and which

harbours themes and images that we all inherit. Literature,

therefore, imitates not the world but rather the “total dream

of humankind.” Jung has called mythology, “the textbook of

archetypes” (quoted in Walker 17).

It is often believed that the most oldest and popular material, which is the part of children literature is folklore. It includes nursery rhymes, folktales, myths, epics, legends, fables, songs, and ballads that have been passed down by storytellers for hundreds, even thousands, of years to enlightens and entertain generations of listeners, young and old.

Every country has its own tradition and culture so the tradition of storytelling varies from place to place. As these stories are being told from ages hence same stories have been interpreted and narrated in their own way at different places. It is so because storytelling is an art and each storyteller is an artist who adds his/her own flair and creates a different version of the story. However, this synthesis is quite common within a culture and becomes a part of the texts of the society to which it belongs. Often these stories are told to the children not only for the amusement but mainly to inspire them and cultivate moral values in them. Hence we can say that children literature basically comprises of those stories which are a part of the culture and tradition of the society to which it belong.

Nancy Anderson, Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida in Thampa defines children’s literature as:

all books written for children, “excluding works such as comic books,

joke books, cartoon books, and nonfiction works that are not intended

to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias’, and

other reference material”.(2)

So, according to Nancy Anderson we can say that works like J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series can be termed as Children literature. But we see that some of this work is also very popular among adults. Although J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was originally written keeping in mind for the amusement and entertainment of the children but it is entertaining adults also. It was marketed only for children, but it was so popular among children and adults that The New York Times created a separate bestseller list for it. And its popularity can be summed up into a number of movies which have adapted on it. Films based on Harry Potter (2001-2011) series include: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007),  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ­__  Part 1 (2010), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ­__  Part 2 (2011).

Parents normally have the view that their children should be kept away from the kinds of books which the adults read. It is a natural thinking as they wish to protect their children from the unhappier aspects of life. They often recommend books of myths, folklore, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and voyages of discovery and even the lives of great personalities. It is so because often the first thing a story does is remove the adult influence, leaving the central character to learn to cope on his or her own: prominent examples of this include Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Bambi and A Series of Unfortunate Events. All these stories are based on popular Fairy tales of Europe.

Alan W. Watts defines myth in his essay, ‘Myths and Rituals in Christianity (New York: Vanguard, 1954):

Myth is to be defined as a complex of stories ­– some no doubt

fact, and some fantasy– which, for various reasons, human

beings regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the

universe and of human life.” (7)

Myths are by nature collective and communal; they bind a tribe

or a nation together in common psychological and spiritual

activities. (147)

In the Indian context, there are plenty of stories based on myths which are famous from the ancient times, as we see stories of Panchatantra, Jataka Kathayen, Betal Pachchisi, Vikram-Betal, and many other such stories. The Panchtantra which was written in Sanskrit in 200 B.C. is still popular. Although the Puranas, the Ramayana & the Mahabharata are epics but their stories are most popular among children. As the Indian mythology is not specifically for children but is most popular among children in the same way is Norwegian collection of folklore & Norske Folkeeventyr.

So, in India, there has always been a trend of telling stories based on Indian myths & legends to the children by their parents. This is prevalent in the contemporary scenario also but now it has developed into many forms. With the advancement of information technology, now lots of mythical stories have been adapted into animated films for the children. In Hindu tradition, any good work begins with the name of Lord Ganesha, who is the Lord of “Riddhi and Siddhi” and “destroyer of incompleteness.” Taking inspiration from this ideology, lots of children films have been made based on the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha. Bal Ganesha which was released in 2007 is a computer-animated musical feature film. Being directed by Pankaj Sharma, it is about the adventures of baby Lord Ganesha. Then there are My Friend Ganesha series also based on baby Ganesha. In year 2007, a Bollywood movie, My Friend Ganesha was released. It was written and directed by Rajiv S. Ruia and produced by Manish Ruparel, Raman Trikha, Mitesh Mehta and Ronak Bhagat. Star Casts of the film include: Ahsaas Channa, Kiran Janjani, Sheetal Shah and Upasana Singh. The film was successful as it earned 64 lakhs provoking the makers to make My Friend Ganesha 2, which was released in 2009.  In 2010, My Friend Ganesha 3 was released which was a sequel to My Friend Ganesha 2. It is an animated movie, written by S. Sachindra, directed by Rajiv S. Ruia and produced by Ajhia Acharya under the banner of Baba Arts Limited Production. Its star cast include: Rahul Pendalkar, Baba Sehgal, Eva Grover, Sayaji Shinde, Himani Shivpuri & Makarand Anaspure.

Children Film Society of India (CFSI) is being credited with doing lots of experiments in the field of cinema for children. They have always encouraged animation and other movies based on stories of Indian myths, folklore & fairy tales which have been very fruitful for the children as these stories not only entertain them but also educate them by giving moral message.

Arabian Nights, Alladin, Ali Baba and forty thieves, Hatimtai, Sindbad Jahazi and some other of such kind are very popular stories from Arabia. These stories are not only adapted in Bollywood films and animation movies in India but around the world. These stories are popular myths and tales of Arabian Desert. So we see that in Arabian culture also there is a special place for myths and folklore. Dr Richard Clarke in his essay ‘Northrop Fyre “The Archetypes of Literature” (1951)’ speaks about Fyre:

In summary, for Fyre, literature is not mimetic. Literary writers

reflect not reality but, rather, regurgitate in complex ways in their

individual works those simple pre-literary mythical narratives

that are central to the cultural heritage of humanity. The human

actions depicted therein are ultimately grounded in those

personifications which humans have come to attach to natural

events and phenomena in an effort to humanise an inherently

intransigent and unintelligible natural world. (4)

In U.K. there are Classic British novels like Tom’s Midnight Garden (Phillippa Pearce, 1958) and Jessamy (Barbara Sleigh, 1967) which are considered as a part of children literature.

The broadest definition of children’s literature applies to books that are actually selected and read by children. Children are more or less inclined towards books such as comics, which are not considered as literature in the traditional sense. They prefer those literary classics and recognized great works by modern writers. And they also often enjoy stories which speak on multiple levels. The novelist Orson Scott Card opines that:

one can make a good case for the idea that children are often the

guardians of the truly great literature of the world, for in their love

of story and unconcern for stylistic fads and literary tricks, children

unerringly gravitate toward truth and power.” (4)

Alice (1865- 1871) Series by Lewis Carol are the stories which he wrote for both adults and children. Someone who had enjoyed reading it as a child can come back to the text as an adult and see the darker themes that were lost on them as younger readers. These books includes; Alice Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). We see many movies & TV serials based on it, Alice in Wonderland (1903), Alice in Wonderland (1910), Alice in Wonderland (1915), Alice Through a Looking Glass (1928), Alice in Wonderland (1931), Alice in Wonderland (1933), Alice in Wonderland (1937) (TV), Alice (1946), Alice in Wonderland (1949), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Alice in Wonderland (1955) (TV), Alice in Wonderland, it is also named as What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?(1966) (TV), Alice in Wonderland in Paris (1966) (TV),  Alice in Wonderland (1966) (1966) (TV), Alice Through the Looking Glass (1966) (TV),  Alice Adventures in Wonderland (1972), Alice in Wonderland, the film was a part of the Festival of Family Classics (1973) (TV), Alice Through the Looking Glass (1974) (TV), Alice in Wonderland (1976), Jabberwocky (1977), Alice (1982), Alice at the Palace (1982),  Alice at the Palace (1982), Alice in Wonderland (1982) (TV), Alice in Wonderland (1983) (TV), Alice in Wonderland (1985) (TV), Dreamchild (1985) (TV), Alice in Wonderland (1982) (TV) (mini), The Care Bears Adventures in Wonderland (1987), Alice Through the Looking Glass (1987), Alice in Wonderland (1988), Sugar & Spice: Alice in Wonderland (1991) (short film), Alice in Wonderland (1995), Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998) (TV), Alice in Wonderland (1999) (TV), Alice Underground (1999) (short film), Alice in Wonderland (2010).

           In Russia, Alice in Wonderland (1981) was named as Alisa v Strane Chudes and Alice Through the Looking Glass (1982) was named as Alisa v Zazerkale. In Czechoslovakia, Alice (1988) was named as Neco z Alenky. Alice series was re-written from 1985-2013 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor which was adapted into a movie, Alice Upside Down in 2008.

From United States of America, the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1876 and 1885) are very popular and they have been included in the text-books for children across the globe. There is Aunt Polly’s, a rigid lady and her nephew, Tom who is very naughty and adventurous. Same is the case with Tom’s friend Huckleberry Finn. Their stories continue to be popular in the present times also. The classic like Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was originally intended for an adult audience, but now it has become so popular among school children that it is even prescribed in the syllabus around the globe and is considered as a remarkable work for children. There are numbers of adaptations based on the book, viz, Huck and Tom (1918), Huckleberry Finn (1930), Huckleberry Finn (1931), Huckleberry Finn (1937), The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn (1939), The Adventure Huckleberry Finn (1955) (TV), Huckleberry Finn (1974), Hopelessly Lost (1972), Huckleberry Finn (1975) (TV), The Adventures Huckleberry Finn (1981) (TV), Adventures Huckleberry Finn (1985)(TV), The Adventure Mark Twain (1986), Back to Hannibal: The Return of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (1990) (TV), The Adventure Huckleberry Finn (1993) & Tom and Huck (1995).

          There are book series which are very common in the genre of children literature as it is other genre. Harry Potter series are a fine example of such. It is so because sometimes the success of a book for children prompts the author to continue the story in a sequel or to launch a series. Some other examples are such as L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. There is Enid Blyton and R. L. Stine, who have specialized in open-ended series. Sometimes even a series has outlived its author; when Baum died, his publisher hired Ruth Plumly Thompson  to write more Oz books. Then there are Nancy Drew series and others which were written by several authors using the same pen name.

Some of the books which are very popular in children literature are Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables, the Hardy Boys mysteries, The Jinx Ship and its sea story sequels, the Nancy Drew mysteries, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lassie Come Home, The Black Stallion and its sequels, the Harry Potter fantasy series, and the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy.

Children’s books are mostly made beautiful, lavish and attractive with illustrations and other materials so that children are fascinated and attracted towards it. This thing is rarely used in adult literature. Japan, Korea and France are exception in this case as there is popularity of illustrated novel genre. It is generally believed that the artwork plays a greater role in books intended for the youngest readers i.e. children. And as such children’s picture books can be a cognitively accessible source of high quality art for young children. Besides, it is also a fact that even after children attain sufficient levels of literacy to enjoy the story without illustrations, they continue to appreciate the occasional drawings found in chapter books.

Some stories were written in the 15th century which became very popular among children, they include Thomas Malory’s Morte d’s Arthur (1486) and the tales of Robin Hood (c. 1450). They were not written with children in mind, but children have been fascinated by these stories for centuries. Robin Hood is a character which has been portrayed in lots of films for children and adults around the world. As he was a saviour of poor and destitute; so he is always remembered and considered as examples of heroism.

In the 17th century, Jan Amos Komensky published the illustrated informational book Orbis Pictus (1658) in Bohemia.  It is very important in the history of children literature as it is considered to be the first picture book published specifically for children. This century has also a great significance in terms of folklore as during this time, Charles Perrault (1628–1703) laid the foundations of the Fairy tales in France. His stories which are considered as classic in terms of children literature and are very popular around the world still now are Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots and Cinderella. Everybody around the globe has grown up listening these stories from parents, teachers and other adults.

The famous poet of English and the precursor of Romantic Movement, William Blake published Songs of Innocence in 1789 for children.  According to F. J. Harvey Darton:

books written specifically for the use of children outside of school had

become, “a clear but subordinate branch of English literature. (9)

In the 19th century, a remarkable thing happened in Germany, the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm wrote down and preserved tales told by oral tradition in Germany, such as Snow White, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel (1812), which are still very popular. A feature film named as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was adapted by Walt Disney in 1937, which is a definitely a legacy and a lifetime achievement thing. Full credit goes to Walt Disney and his animators who completely rewrote the book, Snow White for animated movies with the film. Moreover, after 76 years of its making it still holds up the audience.

Originated in Germany, Hansel and Gretel has been adapted in various media around the world, most notably the opera Hansel and Gretel (1893) by Engelbert Humperdinck and also a stop-motion animated feature film based on the opera. It is an artwork by Arthur Rackham. The rise of Russian writers like Alexander Pushkin, who was a poet and published his fairy tales in verse which were based on Russian folklore: The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (1833), The Tale of the Dead Princess (1833), The Tale of the Golden Cockerel (1834).

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) from Denmark was a landmark for the genre known as Children literature because he gave masterpiece stories to the world. He published his beloved fairy tales: The Little Mermaid (1836), The Emperor’s New Clothes (1837), The Ugly Duckling (1844), The Snow White (1845) and others from 1835 till 1848. He was very popular in his lifetime among children across Europe and was feted with royalty because of his writing for children. His fairy tales are very inspiring and have been liked by children so much that they have been translated into 150 languages. They are still a source of inspiration and motivation for other writers of children literature and continue to be published into millions of copies and in many languages. Some of his popular tales are “The emperor’s new clothes” and “ugly duckling” which have been include in the syllabus of many schools.

Lewis Carroll, the famous writer of England published his masterpiece tale, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. It is a tale of adventure of a little girl, Alice in an imaginary land, which is very interesting for the readers and so because of this, it is very popular not only among children but among adults. Its narrative course and structure has been enormously influential, mainly in the fantasy genre.

Johanna Spyri, the writer from Switzerland published Heidi in 1880. The title reflects the writer’s indication that the book is “for children and those who love children”. Joel Chandler Harris, a man belonging to African-American community published Uncle Remus in 1881, which is a collection of stories narrated by the fictional storyteller, Uncle Remus. The most interesting thing is that it features Br’er Rabbit and other animals speaking African- American dialect.

In 1883 Carlo Collodi, an Italian writer wrote one of the most popular puppet stories, The Adventure of Pinocchio. It was the first Italian fantasy novel for the children of Italy but it also became very popular in other parts of the world. In the same year, the classic pirate adventure novel, Treasure Island was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is a story which is traditionally considered as belonging to the category of coming of age. It is an adventure tale known for its atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long John Silver. It is also one of the most frequently dramatised of all novels, and its influence on popular perception of pirates is considered to be very vast. There are a number of movies made into film on the novel, Treasure Island (1918), Treasure Island (1920), Treasure Island (1934), Treasure Island (1937), Treasure Island (1950), Long John Silver (1954), Return to Treasure Island (1954),  Treasure Island (1971), Animal Treasure Island (1971),  Treasure Island (1972), Treasure Island (1977) (TV),  Treasure Island (1982) (TV), L’Ile au tresor (1985), Return to Treasure Island (1986) (TV) (mini), L’isola del Tesoro (1987), Treasure Island (1988), Return to Treasure Island (1988) (TV), Treasure Island (1990) (TV), Return to Treasure Island (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Return to Treasure Island (1996) (TV), Return to Treasure Island (1998) (TV), Treasure Island (1999), Treasure Island (2002),  Pirates of Treasure Island (2006) & Die Schatzinsel (2007).

But it was Rudyard Kipling, who is credited to publish The Jungle Book in 1894 and The Second Jungle Book in 1895 which has become so popular that it has been adapted into many animation series and films around the globe. The Jungle Book is a collection of stories about a boy and his adventures, who lives in the jungle with animals. It has been adapted into a number of movies around the world namely, Elephant Boy (1937), Jungle Book (1942),  The Jungle Book (1967),  The Jungle Book 2 (2003) & Adventure of Mowgli (1967), Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1994), The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story (1997), Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story (1998) & Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book (1998).

In the last years of the 19th century, the series of Hollow Tree books was written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898. He wrote the first of his three Hollow Tree books, The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book, which was followed by the Hollow Tree Snowed-in Book in 1901 and Hollow Tree Days and Nights in 1915. In 1899 Helen Bannerman published her work, Little Black Sambo.  It is a story of a boy abused by four tigers who, at the end of the story, suffer the consequences of their abuse–melting into butter and being eaten on pancakes.

  1.           Frank Baum published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, which is considered as the last work of the century in terms of children literature. Since then, it has been constantly in print. It is considered as one of the best-known stories in American culture and has been translated into 40 languages. The success of the series inspired Baum to write thirteen sequels. And even other authors continued the series for decades. The Wizard of Oz is a musical film made in 1939 and was very well appreciated as the storyline was very well-executed by the makers with wonderful songs. Child actor, Judy Garland gave a memorable performance which will always be remembered.

The 20th Century saw the rise of many new writers and their works, starting with Beatrix Potter, who published, The Tale of Peter Rabbit followed by Peter Rabbit in 1920. Peter Rabbit is a story of a young rabbit that is very mischievous and disobedient. He is told not to go in the garden of McGregor but he ventures to do so. The book is very unique in it sense as it has generated considerable merchandise over the decades and somewhat now also since its release with toys, dishes, foods, clothing, videos and other products made available. And the writer was one of the first to be responsible for such merchandise when she patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1923.

In the year 1911, J. M. Barrie published the famous book, Peter and Wendy where Peter Pan, is considered as one of the most famous characters in children’s literature. The story is that the character Peter Pan magically refuses to grow up and spends his never-ending childhood in the small island called Neverland. In 1920 Hugh Lofting wrote the series of The Story of Dr. Doolittle, the first of ten Dr. Doolittle books.  In 1926 A. A. Milne wrote the most famous Winnie-the-Pooh, chapter stories. The book deals with the stories about an adorable bumbling teddy bear, his best friend Piglet, and other animal characters. This was followed by The House at Pooh Corner and more Pooh stories in 1928.

There are lots of work being going on in the field of children literature, not only in England but also in other European countries like France as in 1931 Jean de Brunhoff published Histoire de Babar, which is the French edition of the first of seven Babar the elephant stories, which has already been popular in English. The title of the English version which was The Story of Babar was earlier published in Britain and also in the United States in 1933. In the same year Laura Ingalls Wilder of United States published the first instalment of the Little House on the Prairies series in her country. It is based on her childhood in a Western-pioneering family. Later on, she published the other books of the series and since then the books have remained continuously in print. These books because of their widespread popularity are considered as classics of American’s literature. Several of them were named Newbery Honor books and are still widely read around the world and not only in United States. The books have been so popular that were also adapted into a long running, popular American television series, Little House on the Prairies from 1974–1984 on the NBC network. In the television series, many famous actors and actress acted like Michael Landon starred as Charles Ingalls, Karen Grassle played Caroline Ingalls, Melissa Gilbert played Laura Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson played Mary Ingalls, and the twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush played Carrie Ingalls. Victor French was portrayed as long-time friend Mr Edwards and Dean Butler acted as Laura’s husband, Almanzo Wilder.

Pamela L. Travers wrote the first of long series of book, Mary Poppins in 1934.  The books tell the stories about a magical Nanny and the children she shepherded. There is a series of books on Mary Poppins and the last was published in 1989. In 1936, Munro Leaf of Spain wrote The Story of Ferdinand. The book deals with the story of a gentle Spanish bull that refused to accept his appointed role as a bull ring combatant. In 1945 E. B. White, who is the co-author of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, wrote Stuart Little. It is the story of an intelligent, semi-anthropomorphic mouse that sailed a tiny boat and drove a tiny car. A few years later, in 1952, White published Charlotte’s Web, the story of a barnyard spider and her animal friends. So it means that all his books deal with animal characters. In 1945 Marguerite Henry published Misty of Chincoteague, which is the story of a wild Assateague Island. The story revolves around the central character, Virginia is a pony that is tamed and domesticated on nearby Chincoteague Island. It is believed that the story is based on a real pony named Misty who was born and raised on Chincoteague. And the interesting thing is that the story alters Misty’s birth island and domestic heritage.

It was C. S. Lewis who published the first of instalment of his Chronicles of Narnia series in the UK in 1950. Because of the success of the novel, Lewis wrote them in series, including seven volumes. The Chronicles of Narnia is considered as masterpiece as it has been sold over 120 million copies in 41 languages. Not only this, its popularity can be seen by the fact that it has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for other means of entertainment i.e. radio, television, stage, and cinema. Walden Media adapted a series of fantasy films based on The Chronicles of Narnia. Till now they have adapted a series of three films from seven novels namely; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010). The series has earned more than $ 1.5 billion worldwide.    

In the novel, there is a fictional world of Narnia, where children have lots of adventure and are guided by a wise and powerful lion, Aslan who is able to speak and is truly the king of Narnia. There adventures have been depicted very nicely in the movie, featuring children mostly of Pevensie siblings and the White Witch (sometimes known as Jadis) is the prominent antagonist. Two of the three films, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian were directed by Andrew Adamson and was distributed by Walt Disney. With the advancement in the field of information technology, the third film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is released in Digital 3D which is being directed by Michael Apted and distributed by 20th Century Fox. There is good news for the lovers of the series that The C. S. Lewis Company has announced on 1st October 2013 they have made agreement with The Mark Goldon Company and will work collaboratively to produce the fourth film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair. The reason behind its popularity is that in addition to numerous traditional Christian themes, the series borrows characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology, as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales.

In 1964 Roald Dahl wrote the interesting story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is the story which deals with the adventures of Charlie Bucket’s inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. And it is quite interesting that at the end of the story, Charlie wins a prize–the chocolate factory. In the same year, Louise Fitzhugh wrote Harriet the Spy, which is a thriller. It is the story of a girl, who is 11 years old and is very adventurous. And because of this attitude she gets into trouble by spying on her neighbours, classmates, and friends. But ultimately she becomes the editor of the school newspaper, in which capacity she makes amends for earlier remarks that alienated people. In 1972 Graham Oakley, an Englishman wrote The Church Mouse. This is the first of a series of twelve Church Mouse books which has extended until 2000. The main characters of the book are Arthur and Humphrey, two mice who, along with the lazy cat Sampson, operate in England’s Anglican Church of Saint John.

The year 1990, saw a sensation in the field of children literature with the launched of The Harry Potter Series, by Joanne (J.K.) Rowling. He wrote The Harry Potter Series, in which there are 3 main characters who embark on new adventures across 7 books, all leading up to an epic battle between good and evil and finally the defeat of evil by the hero, who is the representative of good. The main characters are Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley. He wrote this keeping in mind children but soon it became very popular among adults also and till now has become the best seller around the world.

In the 21st Century also, still lots of work is being carried out which we can called as children literature and in the same way lots of adaptation is being carried out based on it. Children literature is also a source of techniques used by the teachers and adults all around the world to guide, motivate and inspire children. It has been used by good teachers to augment classroom instruction providing a meaning-centred application for one of education’s richest resources – children’s literature. So, teachers should introduce fiction to young readers, by using a children’s literature, which is an effective means to introduce the parts of a story to students (characters, setting, plot, introduction, theme, and conclusion). This can result in the easy learning for the students as they will take much interest in it. Moreover the task of the teacher will also be easy to give them knowledge and make them aware of everything.


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  10. Lesnik-Oberstein, Karin (1996). “Defining Children’s Literature and Childhood”. In Hunt, Peter (ed.).International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature. London: Routledge.
  11. Lesnik-Oberstein, Karin (1994).Children’s Literature: Criticism and the Fictional Child. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  12. Lesnik-Oberstein, Karin (2004).Children’s Literature: New Approaches. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  13. Rose, Jacqueline (1993, orig. pub. 1984).The Case of Peter Pan or the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  14. Wolf, Shelby (2010).Handbook of Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Cambridge: Routledge.
  15. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, ed. by Jack Zipes, Oxford [etc.]: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006, 4 volumes.
  16. Literature and the Child, 7th edition, Lee Galda, Bernice E. Cullian, and Lawrence R. Sipe.


  1. wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_children’s_books_made_into_feature_films.
  2. https://www.msu.edu/user/singere/fakelore.html.
  3. wikipedia.org/wiki/Bal_Ganesh
  4. Disney opts out of 3rd ‘Narnia’ film (http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2008/12/29/daily3.html)
  5. Fourth ‘Chronicles Of Narnia’ Movie In Works From Mark Gordon Co (http://www.deadline.com/2013/10/chroniclesof-narnia-silver-chair-movie-mark-gordon/)

Published by: Shamenaz

Dr. Shamenaz Bano is the Author, Co-Author and Editor of 9 Books, ‘Verses on Racism, Resistance and Refugee Crisis’, ‘Shades of Life’, ‘The Celebration of Our Voices’, ‘Trends, Issues and Implications in Asian Women Writing’, ‘Women Poets: Within and Beyond Shore Volume I & II and Feeling for You. She is currently teaching English Literature at S. S. Khanna Girls P. G. College, Allahabad. She had taught English Literature and Language at Ewing Christian College, Allahabad University and AIET, Allahabad. With a D. Phil in English Literature from the University of Allahabad, she has professional experience of more than 14 years. She has contributed poems to many international poetry Magazines & Anthologies like Women of Substance, Raven Cage Magazine, Poetry Archive, Women of Reflection, Women of Passion, Poetic Souls, Feeling International, Hope Reborn and Glomag. She is a member of the Editorial Board of journals including, Anglisticum (Macedonia), IJRHS (Jordan), Cyber Literature: An Online Journal, The Context, English Literator Society, Literary Miscellany, Research Access & Expressions, Levure Litteraire (France-Germany-USA). She regularly contributes articles to Web-magazines- Boloji.com, Merinews.com and Globalasia.com.

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