July 22, 2011
Mr. Twain Apparently Had Daughters
From the New York Review of Books: an illustrated slideshow of Mark Twain's 1865 children's story, "Advice to Little Girls," which was later published as part of a larger book. Now illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky, this amusing set of instructions reminds us that even back in the day that SOME little girls were were more likely to have blood shed on their crinolines than be dusted with "sugar and spice and everything nice."
With the traditional tongue-in-cheek style of Twain, he exhorted little girls to be nasty to their brothers - but with appropriate slyness and ultimate deniability - to mind their teachers -- until their backs were turned, and to obey their parents - at least on the surface. All in all, he tells little girls to do pretty much what they -- and little boys -- mostly do anyway. Radunksy's scribbly doodled illustration makes it seem like advice from little girls to other little girls -- and removes the adult voice from the piece entirely, which is quite fun.
I especially love "You should ever bear in mind that it is to your kind parents that you are indebted for your food, and for the privilege of staying home from school when you let on that you are sick. Therefore you ought to respect their little prejudices, and humor their little whims, and put up with their little foibles until they get to crowding you too much."
Indeed. And then, bring out the shouty voice... You'll note how quickly everything changes then... one way or another...
Via Jane Martinson @ the Guardian blog.