Analyzing the Elements in Children’s Books: The Wind in the Willows. Chapter One

  • Student: Ivon Huang
  • National Pingtung University
  • June 2022

Chapter One Introduction

Why should we read children’s literature? Imagine being a child who can barely speak and express his or her feelings, so that he or she would need something to help him or her to develop skills of speaking and writing. This could be done in many ways, by reading children’s literature, especially those were written for children, are very useful to them. Lukens (2007) suggested that while children developing their language skills, they will be able to express their emotions in better ways and understand other people’s feelings (Lukens, 2007, p.xxiv). Besides, the adults would also benefit from reading and evaluating children’s literature. Thus, they would learn how to select qualified children’s books for their children to read. Also, adults could understand the views of children from these works.

The purpose of this research is to analyze the elements of children’s literature books: Character, conflicts and theme. These literary elements made qualified children’s books. What’s more, readers will know to evaluate and select good children’s literature books for their children. The researcher selected the well-known British children’s literature book: The Wind in The Willows for studying. It was a children’s literature book by British author Kenneth Graham which was published in 1908. The story is mainly about the friendship and adventures of four animals. These characters have different kind of personalities which will cause many conflicts, battles among all characters in the story. Hence here comes three research questions of this study:

  1. Who are the round characters and flat characters in The Wind in The Willows?
  2. What types of conflicts would occur in the book?
  3. What are the primary themes of the book?

Since characters, conflicts, themes are essential to a book, this study will focus on examining if the book, The Wind in The Willows, has these elements. In this study, the researcher will discuss the elements of children’s literature, based on Lukens (2007), Peter (1999) and several experts’ theories. Also, they pointed out several types of themes of children’s literature. Chapter 3 will discuss the reasons why the researcher chose the book, The Wind in The Willows, for studying. Chapter 4 will analyze elements of children’s literature books.

In conclusion, the researcher found out that The Wind in The Willows did have the elements of qualified literature based on several children’s literature theories suggested by several experts (Lukens, 2007; Peter, 1999; Crippen, 2012; Norton, 1993). A major finding is that the characters, conflicts, and themes in this book are well-designed. Characters would become a different animal after conflicts with the help of other characters. Finally, the theme of the book is explicitly expressed through the round characters’ behaviors.

This study may serve as an inspiration for readers who are interested in children’s books. Thus, readers could know how to evaluate children’s literature and select high quality book for their children.

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