April 4, 2002

“GOODBYE,” SHE LIED. Despite work insanity, I will be posting quite a bit tomorrow. Reader mail, what Brink Lindsey could learn from Nietzsche’s parable of the madman (just wrote “parable of the madam”…), and some thoughts on blogging v. regular-old-journalism. And maybe more.

For now, I’ll revisit my “witches for Jesus” post. I’m surprised to realize how few of the books I read as a child were recognizably Christian. Several were straight-up anti-Christian (discussed in the W4J post), but in most, Christianity was simply absent. Diana Wynne Jones, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and Beverly Cleary spring to mind as examples. All are excellent authors, highly recommended and all that–but. Given the time and place in which the stories are set, I’d assume that Ramona Quimby’s family goes to church, but I can’t recall any episodes from the books that would verify that. Strange. I mostly read fantasy, which I suspect is one reason for this absence; fantasies are supposed to be set in radically different worlds. Also, I really couldn’t get into the Chronicles of Narnia after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

At any rate, here’s the sum total of the kids’ books I loved that are set in a recognizably Christian world: Lots and lots of John Bellairs (trashy Catholic pulp-horror for kids!); Margot Benary-Isbert, The Wicked Enchantment (sweet, fun tale with beautiful, curlicued illustrations); Ottfried Preussler, The Satanic Mill (a truly great book about evil, loyalty, and love). That’s it. (I notice that both Benary-Isbert and Preussler are German–interesting.) Oh, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and Little Women which I liked but wasn’t crazy about.

Strange. Unfortunate. There should be more of this stuff. Not paint-by-numbers saccharine Christian stuff, but top-rate, tough-minded fantasy. Suggestions are welcome.

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