Fairy tales to fantasy on children's book list

by Hilary Thomson
Staff writer

Cataloguing children's literature is anything but child's play say two faculty members from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.

Prof. Emerita Sheila Egoff and Prof. Ronald Hagler recently completed Books That Shaped Our Minds, a catalogue of more than 360 of the most significant American and British children's books of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries in UBC's Special Collections holdings.

The catalogue describes such books as an 1866 first edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and The Adventures of Robert, Earl of Huntington, vulgarly called Robin Hood, published in 1767.

It is divided into sections representing the various genres of children's literature such as fairy and folk tales, moral tales and boys' and girls' books.

Egoff has prefaced each section with an essay describing the development of children's literature in those categories.

"Catalogues are never done and never perfect," says Hagler, who contributed bibliographical descriptions as well as helping to edit, design and produce the catalogue.

The project was started to publicize the Library's extensive holdings of early children's literature.

"We have editions not found anywhere else," says Egoff. "So many early children's books were worn out in use and are now extremely rare."

Most of the books described come from UBC's Arkley Collection of Early and Historical Children's Literature.

The collection has grown to more than 10,000 books, making it one of the largest collections of children's literature in Canada.

A selection of books from the catalogue is on display in the concourse of the Main Library until February.