Sunday, April 15, 2007

Important Literary Date

Posted by olvlzl.
One of the greatest authors in the English language had a 91st birthday April 12. While any number of other writers have flashed across the scene in the past fifty-seven years and burned out into obscurity, Beverly Clearly’s books remain in print and popular with their readers. For once, the quality more than matches the popularity. I read Henry Huggins and Ribsy when I was in grade school and they are still being read. The Ramona books and Ralph S. Mouse are probably even more widely read.

For me, though, her masterpiece is still Dear Mr. Henshaw, one of the best depictions of how a child sees their world. It is an achievement in imagination that could only be attained by a real genius.

I don’t know if Beverly Cleary was the one who said it but I remember reading about a prominent children’s author who when asked why she wrote “juvenile books” said that she liked it better than writing “senile books”. Having stood this long, it’s pretty clear that they won’t age and grow cranky.