Archive for March 6th, 2006

More about the Book Brouhaha

March 6, 2006 @ 5:10 pm | Filed under: ,

As a followup to my post about a school board’s decision to remove certain titles from an elementary school’s to-purchase list, here are some links worth looking at:

Becky of Farm School has thoughts both humorous and insightful about the issue. I too have considered this issue from the Charlotte Mason anti-twaddle angle…it seems to me that the school library could find a far better use for its money than Disney’s Christmas Storybook. (Becky’s suggestion, for example: much better choice.)

Roger Sutton, the editor in chief of The Horn Book, offered some fascinating behind-the-scenes information about library purchasing. (Scroll down to the comments section.) I’d like to learn more about the ALA Bill of Rights, especially in regard to how it applies to public school libraries.

The original news report about the matter gave the impression that parents were equally upset over the removal of twaddly titles and books featuring what the trustees deemed “bad role models.” Mr. Sutton’s concern is over the latter. “NOT purchasing a book ‘because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,’ ” he writes, “is just as much censorship as removing a book for those same reasons later.”

I’d love to hear from more readers about this.

The Unicorn Tapestries

March 6, 2006 @ 3:00 am | Filed under: , ,

37802xfpxobjiip10wid404hei400rgn02153465For this month’s picture study, we’re doing something a bit different. I thought it might be fun to take a close look at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s famous Unicorn Tapestries. These spectacular late-fifteenth-century tapestries are on view at The Cloisters, the Met’s uptown collection of medieval European artwork. Designed in Paris and woven in Brussels and the Netherlands, the seven large wall hangings vividly depict the hunting of a white unicorn in a richly flowered wood. The gorgeous weavings are rich in symbolism and drama—there are at least three layers of meaning to explore here. In addition to the excitement of the hunt, complete with lanky greyhounds, odd-looking lions, and a smiling stag, there are the symbolic interpretations of the story:

“They can also be explained as a tale of courtly love, presenting the search and eventual capture of the lover-bridegroom by his adored lady. And there is the Christian interpretation as well, the symbolic retelling of Christ’s suffering, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.”

Cloisters_galleryThe Met’s Unicorn Tapestries website is loaded with information and pictures. If, like my family, you can’t venture to NYC to view these incredible weavings in person, a long exploration of the website will be the next best thing.

Related links:

New Yorker article, “Capturing the Unicorn: How Two Mathematicians Came to the Aid of the Met.”

• Another set of tapestries known as The Lady and the Unicorn, on display at the Musée National du Moyen Âge in Paris.

• Wikipedia entry on unicorns

Children’s books about weaving

Cloisters2• The Cloisters—field trip info (Go ahead, make us jealous!)

Unicorns in children’s literature:

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

A Swiftly Tilting Planet and Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle

The Unicorn Treasury : Stories, Poems, and Unicorn Lore by Bruce Coville