Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Living in a fantasy

I hope all our readers had a lovely festive season and that Santa was good to each and every one of you!

One of my gifts was a jigsaw puzzle. Its from a painting by the marvellous Thomas Kinkadecalled The Wizard of Oz. It’s a fabulous rendition of the four characters making their way down the yellow brick road, and the colours are absolutely vibrant. I am so looking forward to getting started.

It was in the year 1900 (yes, that's 115 years ago) when L Frank Baum published The wonderful wizard of Oz. But he certainly wasn't the first to delve into the world of fantasy fiction. The genre dates back to antiquity with Homer's Odyssey written in the 9th Century BC and Beowulf circa 700 AD.

Children's fantasy really came to life following the publication of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales in 1812-15. Then there was Alice's adventures in Wonderland (1865), The Hobbit (1937) and The chronicles of Narnia (1950-56), just to name a few.

These days there are a plethora of authors writing in the fantasy genre. There are fantasy movies, fantasy TV shows, fantasy games and even fantasy conventions. Foxtel even has a whole channel devoted to the fantasy genre.

So why do we love fantasy so much? Well, for starters, its fun; there is usually a moral to the story; the characters are very different to those we meet in real life - and it can captivate our minds so that we escape from reality, just for a while.

A bit like Santa really...

Penny Garnsworthy

Editor’s note: Do you have a favourite children's fantasy to add to Penny's suggestions?
The following two useful sites explore the long and fascinating history of children’s fantasy literature. For a brief overview look at Children’s literature classics: The fantasy genre and a more in depth exploration at TheBritish Library: Fantasy and fairytales in children’s literature.

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