An axiom: children's books are different from adults' books; they do different things, in different ways, to a different audience. And yet, until recently, the theory and criticism of children's books has treated th em as if they were the same. The reasons for this are obvious: in a literary/cultural matrix which is structured like the traditional family/empire, males are powerful, women dominated, and children both invisible and manipulated;1 consequently, children's literature criticism has behaved as if it were the dominant WASP male criticism. It has, in theory, aspired to the universal; in practice, it has courted universities, performed at MLA, produced journals published by major universities (Yale, Johns Hopkins). It has, in short, had to adopt strategies to circumvent the imperialist hegemony of white male criticism. The original summary for this paper reflected this:
Hunt, Peter, What Would Daddy Have Done? Overt and Covert Constructions of Masculinity in Twentieth Century Children's Literature, Kunapipi, 18(1), 1996.