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ERIC Number: EJ891697
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
"The BFG" and the Spaghetti Book Club: A Case Study of Children as Critics
Hoffman, A. Robin
Children's Literature in Education, v41 n3 p234-250 Sep 2010
Situated at the intersections of ethnography, childhood studies, literary studies, and education research, this reception study seeks to access real children's responses to a particular text, and to offer empirical description of actual reading experiences. Survey data is generated by taking advantage of an online resource: an archive of children's book reviews of Roald Dahl's "The BFG" posted on the website of the Spaghetti Book Club, a for-profit educational organization that provides web hosting services for school classes and their students' book reviews. Thirty different reviews and their accompanying illustrations are analyzed; all were produced by fourth-grade students ranging in age from 8 years old to 11, and representing a broad diversity of American demographic groups and geographic areas. Far from revealing an "essential" or passive child reader, this sample set bears witness to children's capacity to derive highly personal meaning from the text while simultaneously manifesting self-awareness about their status as children in a larger reading community. More importantly, these child-reviewers represent themselves as capable of sophisticated negotiations between self and story. A significant number of individuals demonstrate a capacity or propensity to approach the text as an aesthetic--rather than a bibliotherapeutic--experience. This study prompts us to re-evaluate the primary significance of categorical distinctions between fantasy and reality when analyzing reader response.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A