The Odd Children's Books That Taught Jonathan Lethem About Storytelling

Illustration for article titled The Odd Childrens Books That Taught Jonathan Lethem About Storytelling

Some of the best children's books are actually quite strange, even dreamlike. And this is especially true of kids' books from the 1960s and 1970s. In an interview with BoingBoing, author Jonathan Lethem talks about the kids' books that he loved, including the "mysterious and rich" Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (above).


In the interview, the author of Dissident Gardens talks about children's books that didn't just capture his imagination, but made him aware of storytelling:

Lewis Carroll was a real transporter for me. I went from seeing only the story to seeing the language; I was suddenly on trajectory to do what I do... [The Happy Valley by Dr. Eric Berne] was really trippy, I mean, it broke all the rules of children’s books, you couldn’t figure out what age it was for. That was a book I studied, and lived inside, and identified with, well before Alice. It hinged on a lot of weird wordplay and allusiveness and the illustrations were really entrancing.


For more, including his thoughts on The Phantom Tollbooth, head over to BoingBoing. [via SFSignal]

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Rufus Honker IV

I have only read Amnesia Moon, but really enjoyed that and read it several times. I guess I need to pick up more by him?