Body

The Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) definition of “body”—”the material frame of man (and animals)”—immediately sets before us one of the term’s principal controversies in children’s literature. That is, what Peter Hunt (1984) would call the adultist, not to mention the sexist, nature of the OED’s language reminds us that the matter of the corporeal is often not deemed proper for the consideration of children and is frequently bound up with questions of gender and the adult body. But when we consider the OED’s elaboration on this definition—“the material body and its properties”—the physical nature of the human body becomes more clearly a matter of interest and importance to the study of children’s literature and culture. David Macaulay’s picture book The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body (2008) describes the parts of the body and its functions. The American Girl Just Like …

This essay may be found on page 17 of the printed volume.

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