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Picture-Book Professors
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How is academia portrayed in children's literature? This Element ambitiously surveys fictional professors in texts marketed towards children. Professors are overwhelmingly white and male, tending to be elderly scientists who fall into three stereotypes: the vehicle to explain scientific facts, the baffled genius, and the evil madman. By the late twentieth century, the stereotype of the male, mad, muddlehead, called Professor SomethingDumb, is formed in humorous yet pejorative fashion. This Element provides a publishing history of the role of academics in children's literature, questioning the book culture which promotes the enforcement of stereotypes regarding intellectual expertise in children's media. The Element is also available, with additional material, as Open Access.


‘To the ranks of marginalized populations historically stereotyped in children’s literature Terras adds one that has been hitherto sadly overlooked: the academician … [Terras] description of her methodology and findings has much to offer children’s-literature researchers … readers will find themselves admiring her diligence in submitting such characters as Doctor Sock, Professor Nut, and Professor Mudweed to close textual reading.’

Source: Kirkus Reviews

'Terras’s research and corpus is pretty vast and amazing … I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading academic books or anyone who’s interested in learning more about the stereotypes in children’s literature.'

Chris Hayden Source: San Francisco Book Review

'Reading Picture-Book Professors is a pleasure … It will be thrilling to witness how her work opens up considerable possibilities for researching academia’s portrayal in the tapestry of children’s culture.'

Lissi Athanasiou-Krikelis Source: Children's Literature Association Quarterly

'The book offers readers a fertile exploration of both the contents of children’s literature and methods of studying it. It also points to important ways to embed scholarly research in the institutional context of the book sector.'

Frauke Pauwels Source: International Research in Children's Literature

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