By Michelle Ann Abate
Johns Hopkins University Press, 266 pages, $55.00
Michelle Ann Abate’s Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children’s Literature takes a scholarly look at how entwined murder is the books we celebrate and read to our children from the cradle to adulthood. Abate’s introduction gives the facts and figures for American obsession with murder, and then goes on to examine several classic children’s books and how they use murder as an important element. These books include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Nancy Drew mysteries, Tarzan, SE Hinton’s The Outsiders, all books that are read by most American children, in school or at home. The tone of this book is very scholarly, and Abate has a well developed bibliography to assist scholars who pick up this volume. The language is not inaccessible, and Abate’s arguments are well paced and well reasoned, and will not turn off a more casual reader.
Reviewed by Katie Richards