Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Setting Setting and Story


Unique settings often create an enchanting place that engages young readers to visit a story again and again. Unique setting is essential to some of the childhood classics. Ping must linger on the banks of a Chinese river and Ferdinand must ponder the flowers in Spain. The children in Maine with a sense of wonder must live on the rock bound coast to experience such a northern hurricane.

Many classics can take place in any setting - say books about some of children's favorite pets...the cats. MILLIONS OF CATS exist just there on the black and white pages while THE CAT IN THE HAT could wreck havoc in any home. Kevin Henkes' kitten could marvel at the moon anywhere with a cloudless sky. And, of course, children all over the world can say good night to the moon.

But, setting does create uniqueness that is special and promotes memories. Ducks, those webbed footed favorites of children can and do enliven many stories, but the most famous ducks must live by the swan boats in Boston.

What enchanted place do you feel invites children in?


  1. My most fun settings tend to be places like outer space, pirate ships and silly prehistoric times!

  2. My favorite book settings are the land of Oz, and the 1800's frontier life in the Little House books.

  3. I love books that let me experience the setting through the eyes of the MC -- Bridge to Terabithia and Pictures of Hollis Woods are two that immediately come to mind.

  4. I'm with Kim, the Oz books captivated me. I was also fascinated places completely different from the tropics where I grew up, like the Yukon, ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.

  5. Ooops, left out the word "with." I was always fascinated WITH places...

  6. I'm pretty drawn to the invented worlds in high fantasy--Oz, the parallel wizard world in Harry Potter, the North in The Golden Compass, and lately, the Underland in the Gregor series--located beneath the city, it's inhabited by giant insects, rats, bats, and Underlanders.

    I admire how real the writers make these fantasy settings feel and how the genre appeals to every kid's fascination with the possibility of other worlds/life forms in far away or secret places.

  7. Yes, children all over the world can say goodnight to the moon, but think of that one special setting, "In the great green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon."

  8. Very well put!

    Castles, caves, anyplace with hidden rooms or places to be explored.

    Anyplace, really, if it's written well.


  9. I agree with Christy - I'll go anywhere if I believe it's real!