井底之蛙

9/19/2006

Acting quickly, he formed a committee to study the issue

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 10:48 am

Via Crooked Timber, an adaptation of Little Sisters of the Grasslands that will appeal to anyone who likes Maoist kitsh, or who works in an American university, or who has a sense of humor, or who has ever been a T.A.
Direct link here

2 responses to “Acting quickly, he formed a committee to study the issue”

  1. Lily Chumley says:

    Little Sisters of the Grassland may look like kitsch to professors, but to a five year old (my age when my parents, who bought it at China Books in San Francisco, gave it to me), those little girls commitment to their village’s herd, and Mao’s fatherly appreciation of their sacrifice, was deeply meaningful. This was the Reagan era when, as far as pink diaper babies like myself knew, the president was a demon who carried around a button with which he could destroy the world. That book was comforting to me, just as picture-books about Jesus and Heaven were comforting to my Christian cousins. (My parents waited till I was older to explain what Mao was really like). It’s easy to laugh about it now but I’m sorry that my niece doesn’t get to have similar fantasies of a socialist heaven on earth.

  2. I agree with Lily Chumley. I am her parents’ age, and i bought “Little Sisters of the Grassland,” along with several other Culterual Revolution style illustrated childrens’ books for my daughter, also at China Books in San Francisco. We lived on a back-to-the-land hippie commune in the Missouri Ozarks and raised goats and sheep. “Little Sisters of the Grassland” soon became one of my daughter’s favourite read-to-me books, along with “A Kiss for Little Bear” by Elsie Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak, “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss, and “Emily the Goat” by Jane Pilgrim. I found it a delight to read aloud, and the illustrations were beautiful, bucolic, and heroic. Yes, we all know about Chairman Mao — but “Little Sisters of the Grassland” is not about Maoism; it is about loyalty and bravery. It was interesting to me that when my daughter grew up, she took a long trip to Mongolia, to see the landscape that had spawned that story. In fact, i found this web site because she recently had a baby of her own, and she askd me to find a copy of “Little Sisters of the Grassland” so that she can share it with her son. That is the test of a really good children’s book — that you want to read it to your children, just the way it was read to you.

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