The seven dwarves find Snow White asleep in their bedroom, from the fairy tale by the brothers Grimm, c. 1812

Children’s Fairy Tales and Feminine Beauty

Fairy tales, many of which associate women’s beauty with goodness, act as scripts that pass along specific messages about women’s bodies and attractiveness.
From the album cover of Free to Be... You and Me

Don’t Dress Your Whale in Galoshes

Free to Be... You and Me was meant to help rear a generation free of sexist stereotypes. Fifty years on, some of its well-intentioned messages are worn around the edges.
Scene from 'Mischievous Matt,' Bracebridge Hemyng (Jack Harkway's), new story in No. 487 Frank Leslie's Boys' and Girls' Weekly

Dime Novels and Story Papers for Kids

The rise of popular literature for children put a story, a role model, and a set of values in a young boy’s pocket.
Children playing ring around the rosie

The Linguistics of Cooties (and Other Weird Things Kids Say)

The game of cooties lets children learn about the idea of contagion, but kid culture and wordplay aren't meant for adults.
Punch and Judy by George Cruikshank, 1828

When Puppet Shows Were Too Violent For Kids

How much violence do we accept in our entertainment? 19th-century Punch and Judy shows were misogynistic, murderous, and definitely not for children.
A paper theater

Paper Theaters: The Home Entertainment of Yesteryear

In the nineteenth century, enterprising toymakers developed a novel way to bring theater into the home.
Frog and Toad

Frog and Toad Attend a Philosophy Class

The richness of the Frog and Toad books derives not only from their mood but from their willingness to challenge readers with philosophical dilemmas.
Family reading children's book

In Children’s Books, How Much Reality is Too Much?

While children will undoubtedly counter myriad difficulties as they navigate life--and it does them a disservice to pretend otherwise--exposure is a double edged sword.
Sunbonnet Babies

The Merchandising Whiz Behind the Sunbonnet Babies

In the late 1890s, Bertha Corbett set up her own illustration studio in Minneapolis. Her simple drawing of children in sunbonnets became her ticket to success.
Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter

The Other Side of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter's biography covers a lot more than just cute bunnies getting into trouble in mean old Mr. McGregor's farm. Not that there's anything wrong with that.