UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The big shoes of Little Bear : the publication history, emergence, and literary potential of the easy reader Ozirny, Shannon


Despite incredible sales success, popularity, and a fifty year history, easy readers are one of the most neglected forms of children’s literature. Called everything from “the poor stepchild of the more glamorous picture book or children’s novel” to “literary flotsam,” easy readers are too-often regarded as insubstantial, superficial, sub-par literature. This thesis provides the first comprehensive, theoretically grounded examination of easy readers and endeavors to prove that a surprising complexity lurks beneath the easy reader’s decodable surface. In order to illuminate both extra-textual and textual complexity, easy readers are treated generically and examined using the contemporary genre theories of Amy Devitt and Adena Rosmarin. This thesis ultimately unearths a heretofore unexplored complexity in the easy reader’s publication history and generic emergence, and finds that the easy reader genre has literary potential and can accommodate works of artistic merit.

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