In case you missed the BBC2 Newsnight programme last night (Friday 11th December), the guests were Anthony Horowitz, Michael Bywater, David Schneider and Bidisha (Mukherjee). Newly released films under discussion were Where the Wild Things Are and The Fantastic Mr Fox, and the adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Nation at the National. There were reviews of a colouring-in book Girls Are Not Chicks and Chris Ryan's Battleground. Thomas the Tank Engine, described by one reviewer as 'conservative' and 'anti-feminist', also figured.
There's an interesting, though brief, discussion about infantalisation and crossover fiction. Bidisha said that "many, many stories which are ostensibly for children are really, in the same way that fairy stories are, they're really about everything and we never lose our interest in family, and faith, and love and death and how to prove ourselves." Jack Zipes, editor of The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, would approve, I'm sure.
The programme also touched on the girl/boy divide in children's fiction, which is where the guests fell to talking about the merits (or not) of Girls Are Not Chicks, which promotes the view that girls are 'thinkers, creators, fighters, healers and superheroes', and Chris Ryan's adventure yarn set in Afghanistan Battleground.
The guests - particularly David Schneider - are a lively bunch and it's good knockabout stuff. You can see it at: