The Steeple Trap vs. Mulan

“The Steeple Trap” contains four sections, each denoting the chronological order of events that occurs to this family and friends. First, the group tries to catch a squirrel, and the second section is about this group catching the squirrel, but subsequently losing it. The third section is about the group catching the squirrel, letting it loose in the wild, and trying to think of a clever way to mark it so that the group knows what squirrel they had caught. They dye the squirrel. The final section is really about the imagination of children, and how simple things like fire can supplement and build upon a child’s dreams.

This text reminds me of the animated movie, Mulan. Both stories have a central theme of persistence because of a desire to achieve something. For Rollo and James, more so than Jonas, they want to see the squirrel up close. They want to capture it and claim it. For Mulan, dressing up like a man and training harder than she previously thought possible are both necessary in order to prevent her weak father from joining the army. And both stories end up in a resolution that really has nothing to do with the original plot line: In The Steeple Trap, the boys lose the squirrel. However, the group has a beautiful bonfire and role play savages and indians. In Mulan, Mulan is sent home because she is found out to be faking her gender. However, the happy ending is that she marries her captain.

Both stories end their respective tales after incredible amounts of persistence and effort doing what they did. It’s just that the way they did it doesn’t coherently follow the original storyline.


Abbott, Jacob. “The Steeple Trap.” Rollo At Play. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1855. 35-65. Print. 

Happy Little George

Lydia Maria Child’s story “Happy Little George” is a short story about a young boy, George, and the lessons he learned in creating a bountiful garden. When George first receives a plot of land, he plants all of the flowers he owns at once, but they wither in the sun. Then, his mother shows him how to properly plant flowers. She tells him to be patient and wait for the flowers to grow, adding that it is foolish for boys to fret when things don’t grow as fast as they want. After returning from a trip to Boston with his father, George only asks his mother once when she thought the flowers would begin to show through the ground. After four days they became visible.

The next day, George finds a flower pot in his garden with three roses and three rose buds. It was a gift from his father for being so patient about his garden. From then on, George brought roses to school for Little Mary. He also gave a rose to any “ragged child” without a rose garden.

Child, Lydia Maria. “Happy Little George.” Flowers for Children. Boston: C.S. Francis &, 1854. Print.


Happy Little George focuses heavily on patience, like “Llama llama red pajama” by Anna Dewdney. Although the contemporary example is filled with large, colorful pictures, the theme that decision making and patience is what will ultimately get a person what they want is the central idea of both texts.


Grandfather’s Chair- The Lady Arbella

The story I read was a short piece from the “Grandfather’s Chair” series.  It was called “The Lady Arbella”, which was the first part of his story.   The story begins as the children get tired from playing in the sun all afternoon.  Tired, they go into the house to find their grandfather (who remains as Grandfather through the story) sitting his special chair.  The children were always curious about said chair because of how strange the back was, with intricate designs and patterns.  It was also quite old.  The youngest child, Alice, asks Grandfather to describe the story behind the chair.  He describes how the chair was made about two centuries ago, and how it was passed down to a woman named Lady Arbella, who moved the America with her new husband.  He also describes the history behind why Puritans left England and came to America.  Lady Arbella came along with her new husband, Mr. Johnson because of the religious freedom, but she missed her old hometown and could not fit in with the laborers and tough men that resided in the colonies.  She died soon after she settled down in America.  The children were saddened by this.

This piece is meant to be a way to teach children history through a story.  It is very different from today’s media, where historical stories are told directly, but usually leaves out gory details that adults deem to be too much for young children.  For example, this story can be compared to the  Charlie Brown version of Thanksgiving, which also explained why the Puritans came to America.  In that version, all the details behind the strife in England was left out and simmered down to “People wanted religious freedom.”  It looks like a joyous occasion for the Pilgrims, but it was not.  When they got here, many people like Lady Arbella died, but that was also smoothed over in the Charlie Brown version, where they mention people dying, but it is quickly changed into how the Pilgrims met the Native Americans.  In short, today’s children’s texts and media does not go into the specifics of death and war like old literature used to.


Early American Post

The main character in the story “The Impatient Little Girl,” Julia, can be characterized as a girl who has some trouble keeping calm and tolerant. This problem affects her relationship with her friends, but she only wishes that their relationship could be the best possible. When Julia, who should be no older than ten years old, plays with her friends, but they end up being unhappy at Julia because she has trouble being patient and tolerant of others. She wants to play games her way and not any other way. She wants them to play the game she wants to play without taking into consideration what everyone else desires to do. In the end, after her friends have left her as result of her behavior, she asks her mom for help concerning her patience issues. She realizes that she has become a misfit within her circle of friends, and that is something she wishes to change.


Reading “The Impatient Little Girl” has reminded me of the 2003 Walt Disney Pictures Pixar movie “Finding Nemo.” In “Finding Nemo,” the son, Nemo, ventures into the open sea and becomes captured by a scuba diver despite warning from his father, Marlin.  Although the story and the movie are in many ways different, I’ve found a child-parent theme that make them, in essence, two very similar works. In both works, the parent warns the child about their respective dangers, and in both stories, the child disobeys the parent and ends up hurt. In “The Impatient Little Girl,” Julia  ignores her mother’s guidance by continuing to be impatient and intolerant. In “Finding Nemo,” Nemo also ignores his father’s guidance by swimming too far from their home and into a dangerous area. Eventually, both children realize that what they did was wrong. Nemo is extremely happy he’s back with his father from what could have been a fatal experience, while Julia is now certain that she will not ignore her mother’s advice when it comes to being patient, calm, and friendly.



LYDIA MARIA CHILD, “The Impatient Little Girl,” in Flowers for Children, II, New York: C.S. Francis, 1844 (Pages 29-35)http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/lydia-maria-child-%E2%80%9C-new-england-boy%E2%80%99s-song-about-thanksgiving-day%E2%80%9D-flowers-children-ii


Graham Walters, Andrew Stanton, May 30th, 2003, “Finding Nemo.” Walt Disney Pictures Pixar.





Early American Post

The story “The Twins” explains how two twin girls dealt with their problem. After hearing their mother read aloud a book detailing the loneliness of a character in the book, the twins come to the conclusion that if they were to teach their cats to dance, they would never be lonely. The twin girls each have a lamb, dog, and a cat. They fail to teach their pets to dance, but calmly resolve their situation by moving on to a different activity and accepting the animals’ lack of skill in dance.

While reading “The Twins” I realized that the story was very similar to the Disney T.V. show “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”. The show was about twin brothers, Zack and Cody, dealing with problems they would face in their suite. The show is similar to the story in multiple ways such as the use of twins, dealing with loneliness, and the absurd conclusions that are made by the children. For example, Mary Ann and Mary Jane make the conclusion that teaching their cats to dance will keep them occupied, while Zack and Cody make conclusion such as going through the hotel’s air conditioning duct in order to get themselves into a private wedding. The characters in both the story and the show have a very unconventional way of thinking that is often associated with kids. The two works of literature both detail the struggle and resolution of hows kids overcome obstacles that come their way.


“Forgotten Chapters of Boston’s Literary History.” ANONYMOUS ILLUSTRATOR, “The Twins,” Juvenile Miscellany, 1833, Volume 5, Issue 2. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/anonymous-illustrator-%E2%80%9C-twins%E2%80%9D-juvenile-miscellany-1833-volume-5-issue-2>.

“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” Dailymotion. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12jkqy_the-suite-life-of-zack-and-cody-s01e05-grounded-on-the-23rd-floor-webrip-xvid-rdf-avi_webcam>.


Early American Post

The story of Casabianca highlighted the author’s views of moral and immoral. The teenager, Casabianca, accompanied his father on a ship. His father was commander of the war ship and they engaged in a terrible battle upon the Nile River. During the bloodshed, his father placed young Casabianca in a particular place of the ship and ordered him not to move till his father addressed him to. His father then walked away to conduct his duties and in the mist of it all, he passed. Casabianca did not move from that spot. He cried out many times, “Father May I go?” and with no response, Casabianca stood there and obeyed his father’s orders.


In a way this short story reminded me of the 1994 Disney movie, The Lion King. In The Lion King, there is also a strong father/son bond. There is one scene in particular which highlights this. The scene where Mufasa dies is a heartbreaking and heroic part of the movie, just as the short story Casabianca. Both Mufasa and Casablanca’s father did whatever was necessary to protect their sons. They put their selves at risk and in the end, ended up dying. Both fathers share similar characteristics yet the children, Casabianca and Simba differ, Casabianca was obedient where as Simba was not. Simba would have never endangered himself or his father, if he had never wondered off into the canyons. Yet one thing that is not questionable is their love for their children, and that is what kept Casabianca and Simba alive.


Abbot, Messrs. “Casabianca.” Mount Vernon Reader: A Course of Reading Lessons. 1841. 139. Print.”Forgotten Chapters of Boston’s Literary History: Casabianca.” MESSRS. ABBOTT, Mount Vernon Reader, a Course of Reading Lessons, New York: Collins, Keese & Co., 1841. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.


“The Death of Mufasa – The Lion King.” YouTube. YouTube. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iloXUw6B4RM>.




Early American Post: Annie vs Peter Pan and Wendy

Birthday in Fairy-Land By: Thomas Wentworth Higginson


This story begins with Annie who is reading a book. She wished that she could see fairies and then she becomes drawn by the music the fairies are making. The fairies invite her to their land and she participates in a ceremony of crowning. The Queen of the fairies tells Annie that she must leave her home and family behind if she wanted to stay. Annie refuses and learns that leaving her home and family behind would never bring her happiness. At the end Annie realizes it was all a dream and cries for her mother.


When I read this story I couldn’t help but think about Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up and instead lived in Neverland among the fairies, young boys, and other creatures. Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s story tries to tell us that happiness comes at a cost of something else. Annie might like the fairies and their world, but for her to achieve true happiness she could never do so if she were to give up her family and home. However, in Peter Pan’s case he had run away from his home and chose to live in Neverland where he would never grow up. In a way they Annie and Peter Pan represent two different choices where one chose to go back home and one chose to stay.

Wendy, the girl who Peter Pan brings to Neverland is similar to Annie because she chose to go home to her family and grow up. When Wendy has grown up and has a child named Jane she tells her that out of all the things she liked she had chosen her home:

“And then he flew us all away to the Neverland and the fairies and the pirates and the redskins and the mermaids’ lagoon, and the home under the ground, and the little house.”

“Yes! which did you like best of all?”

“I think I liked the home under the ground best of all.” (Barrie, Chapter 17).

When you compare this to how Annie thinks of home and her family you can see the similarity between both girls. When Annie thinks about having to leave her family for Fairy Land, she knows that she would not truly be happy there: “ ‘And shall I never, never, see the darlings again?’ though she; ‘and have I agreed to stay here for ever, and let them look for me in vain, and at last mourn for me as lost? Oh! How foolish and wicked I was to think, that any thing here could give me any pleasure, without having them with me!’ ” (Higginson, Page 20-21).


Barrie, James. “Peter Pan.” Gutenburg. 25 June 2008. Web. 18 Oct 2015. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16/16-h/16-h.htm#link2HCH0003>.

Higginson, Thomas. “Birthday in Fairy-Land.” Boston Literary History. 1850. Web. 18 Oct 2015. <http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/thomas-wentworth-higginson-1823-1911-             birthday-fairy-land-story-children-boston-wm-crosby>.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s great-grand nieces: the Powerpuff Girls

The relationship between the subjects of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Children’s Hour is unclear. Yet in short, he illustrates that familiar time after a day’s “occupations” (school, job, duty, etc.) and before dinner in which those who share a living space acknowledge their neighbors. Although it is never disclosed explicitly whom the characters are to one another, their jovial affection towards the others presented in Longfellow’s few lines is palpable. We are introduced to the young girls’ “voices soft and sweet” and “their merry eyes”: this describes how the filial figure (presumably paternal) feels towards them. While “devour me with kisses, Their arms about me entwine,” 
conveys how the girls’ admire the narrator. The Children’s Hour ends with the image of a crumbling castle that outlives their sweet cherishing of one another as in till death do us part.


Like Cartoon Network’s the Powerpuff Girls, The Children’s Hour pivots on the analogous stories of three young women. Longfellow’s “Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, 
 And Edith with golden hair.” foil animator Craig McCracken superpowered sisters Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. “By three doors left unguarded 
They enter my castle wall!” In both instances, it was misconstrued misfortunes that found path intersect among these 8 comparably star-crossed wonderers. I’m certain that these “three doors” are a euphemism for the same Chemical X that Professor Utonium disturbed before provoking the arrival of the Powerpuff Girls. In later episodes of the series, the dynamic between the characters develops through an identical swift paced competitive condition to that portrayed in The Children’s Hour. “A whisper, and then a silence…
They are plotting and planning together
 To take me by surprise…A sudden rush from the stairway, 

 A sudden raid from the hall!” It’s fascinating because the co-protagonists in either piece are girls who are adventure-seeking to the point of rebellious and unruly; they embody tomboy (age-appropriate masculine) features instead of the docility more traditionally associated with their gender.