Author(s): Thomas E. Wartenberg
Taking Picture Books Seriously: What can we learn about philosophy through children's books? This warm and charming volume casts a spell on adult readers as it unveils the surprisingly profound philosophical wisdom contained in children's picture books, from Dr Seuss's Sneetches to William Steig's Shrek!. With a light touch and good humor, Wartenberg discusses the philosophical ideas in these classic stories, and provides parents with a practical starting point for discussing philosophical issues with their children. Accessible and multi-layered, it answers questions like, Is it okay for adults to deceive kids? What's the difference between saying the Mona Lisa is a great painting and vanilla is your favorite flavor? Each chapter includes illustrations commissioned especially for this book.
Thomas E. Wartenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Holyoke College, USA. He founded the Teaching Children Philosophy program, which won the 2011 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. Its website, www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org, receives tens of thousands of visits monthly. Professor Wartenberg's 13 books as author or editor include Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy through Children's Literature (2009), Existentialism: A Beginner's Guide (2008), and The Philosophy of Film: Introductory Text and Readings (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005), which he co-edited with Angela Curran. He has been awarded Senior Fulbright Fellowships to Germany and New Zealand, as well as a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship. He has also directed two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for School Teachers.
Acknowledgments ix "Why? Why? Why?": Children, Philosophy, and Picture Books 1 1 Harold and the Purple Crayon: Can You Get Wet Swimming in an Imaginary Ocean? 7 2 The Important Book: Is a Leopard without Its Spots Still a Leopard? 16 3 Shrek!: Could a Dead Skunk Smell Good? 24 4 Let's Do Nothing!: Can You Just Do Nothing at All? 33 5 Knuffle Bunny: How Do You Know I'm Angry If I Don't Say So? 42 6 Many Moons: Do Experts Really Know More? 48 7 Yellow and Pink: Could Human Life Have Arisen Purely by Chance? 55 8 Morris the Moose: How Do You Know When You've Made a Mistake? 63 9 Emily's Art: What's the Difference between Saying the Mona Lisa Is a Great Painting and Vanilla Is Your Favorite Flavor? 71 10 Miss Nelson Is Missing!: Is It Okay for Adults to Deceive Kids? 81 11 The Giving Tree: How Can It Be Wrong to Give Someone What They Want? 90 12 "Cookies": What Good Is Having Will-Power If You Don't Have Any More Cookies? 100 13 Frederick: Can You Enjoy Doing Something Even If It's Work? 109 14 The Sneetches: Isn't It All Right to Discriminate in Choosing Your Friends? 116 15 The Paper Bag Princess:What's Wrong with "Living Happily Ever After"? 125 16 The Big Orange Splot: Is There Anything Wrong with Conformity? 132 Taking Picture Books Seriously 142 Who's Who: Thumbnail Biographies of the Philosophers 145 What's What: Key Philosophical Terms 156 Next Steps: Additional Philosophical Picture Books 160 More Next Steps: Digging Deeper into Philosophy 163