A Formidable History. "Images of Australia: A History of Australian Children's Literature" by Maurice Saxby. [review]
Although he attributes it to Walter McVitty’s "Innocence and Experience" (1981) and Brenda Niall’s "Australia through the Looking Glass" (1984), there is no doubt that Maurice Saxby’s pioneering "A History of Australian Children’s Literature" (1969, 1971), along with Marcie Muir’s "Bibliography of Australian Children’s Books" (1970, 1976), established the canon of Australian children’s literature. "Images of Australia", along with his "The Proof of the Puddin’: Australian Children’s Literature 1970–1990" (1993) and "Offered to Children: A History of Australian Children’s Literature 1841–1941" (1998), completes Saxby’s rewriting of these histories and is, without doubt, the finest volume. Saxby meticulously documents the development of a literature whose study now flourishes in academic institutions. Such documentation allows other writers, such as Clare Bradford in her excellent "Reading Race" (2001), to take up particular aspects. It is no overstatement to say that there isn’t a current researcher in the field who doesn’t owe a debt to Saxby.