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Collection Highlight: The Herpich Arthuriana Collection: Children's Books

This collection highlight explores different genres in the David Herpich Arthuriana Collection, held in the Rossell Hope Robbins Library. This collection highlight has been curated and created by Ayiana Crabtree (Class of 2022).

Children’s Books:



Introduction


Children’s books have always been a great way to educate children and expose them to many different types of material. The Herpich collection shows this by allowing us to see the many different ways in which children’s books can be presented and the types of material they can cover. It just so happens that these two examples are both from Disney, and whether coincidentally or not, they are great examples of how media is formatted through different forms of interpretation.

The Sword In the Stone

Carey, Mary. Walt Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Company, 1963.


The Sword in the Stone is both a novelization of the original Disney film of the same title, and also based off the original The Sword in the Stone novel by T. H. White. It’s a classic retelling of how a poor, lowly page ends up as the king of England with a little help from Merlin the Wizard. An interesting note is that while in the story by T. H. White, Arthur was secretly the son of Uther Pendragon, in the Disney retelling, however, he is simply an orphan with no secret ties to nobility. This story is a perfect example of how literature can inspire young children to reach for their dreams as it shows that anyone can achieve greatness. 

 

Mickey Mouse in King Arthur’s Court

Mickey Mouse in King Arthur's Court. New York: Blue Ribbon Books Inc., 1933.


This story provides a little bit of a different take on media for children, and provides entertainment through the story and the pop-up images. This allows for imagination and also allows children to see the familiar Mickey Mouse character in a different light. This book is inspired by Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, showing how medieval inspired literature can inspire more medieval inspired literature. While the connection from the Mickey Mouse story isn’t directly associated with a medieval story, it still provides an interesting view on literary influence and appropriation across the centuries.