Books: The Children's Hour

Most parents would be delighted if their youngsters stopped hanging around that juvenile delinquent, the 21-inch tube, and picked up a good book. Unfortunately, the best that can be said for most children's books is that they sell well—a sturdy 11% of the total U.S. book trade. Largely churned out by conscientious hacks, the bulk of the kiddie books piles mountains of moral lessons on molehills of fun. Cause for cheer has come in recent months. With an eye on relaxation as well as royalties, some well-established novelists and poets have sortied from their usual literary habitat and invaded the...

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