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LitHum But It’s Children’s Books

Staff Writer Camille Sensiba has some suggestions for how LitHum professors can help lighten the reading load this semester.

The transition from your high school AP Lit class to LitHum can be a rough one. Fear not! Many beloved children’s books are more similar to the daunting syllabus than one may expect, and they can make the transition a little easier for young first years. Or maybe you’re just looking to rebel against the system by reading your own alt-syllabus— perhaps something with pictures?

The Iliad – Frog and Toad Are Friends

Achilleus and Patroklos are friends.

The Odyssey – Where the Wild Things Are

Because Odysseus is a total brat! He leaves his family behind and messes with some beasts, living in his own delusion of grandeur. Odysseus is a child in his jammies, except when he returns home, instead of a hot supper he finds a bunch of suitors and, well. Maybe Odysseus was the Wild Thing all along.

The Oresteia – The whole Berenstain Bears series 

Because that family is definitely hiding some gruesome secrets behind their pretty bear faces. All of those saccharine happy endings? They must be covering up some darker tension. Papa’s the inept, impulsive patriarch, and Mama’s the matriarch painted in a bad light. Brother Bear and Sister Bear are going to grow up with some serious trauma.

Symposium – Every If You Give A [insert cute animal] A [insert food] book 

Mostly because of the last Socrates section. The structure of these books is (sort of) the Socratic method, and each step is presented so logically that you come to believe it, until you reach the end and you think, “Wait, but what’s actually wrong with giving a mouse a cookie?” You’ve been duped! Aside from that, after reading Republic, it’s clear that Plato made Socrates into a franchise and milked it for all he had. How many animal/food combinations can one have? How many times can one read, “That’s exactly right,” and, “Certainly?”

The New Testament (specifically the Sermon on the Mount)! – Goodnight Moon

Because it’s the perfect bedtime story! Repetition is key to getting those few precious hours of sleep, and all of those “Blessed are…”s are sure to lull you just as well as those “Goodnight…”s. 

Inferno – “Harold and the Purple Crayon” 

Except the world that Harold drew for himself was actually the nine circles of hell. Thirty-three cantos and Dante forgot to mention that hell is purple!

Paradise Lost – The Giving Tree 

Maybe Adam and Eve just mistook the Tree of Knowledge for the Giving Tree, and it all went wrong after that.

Confessions of Augustine – Corduroy 

Except the button is Christianity. The conversion scene is when the little girl finally sews the button onto Corduroy’s overalls. We were waiting for it this whole time! There is, however, a distinct lack of pears in this one.

To the Lighthouse – Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Because maybe we’ll go to the lighthouse… or maybe we’ll just talk about it… haha jkjk… unless…

all we’re physically capable of reading via Enokson/Flickr

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