A very long article about childhood reading, content and learning to love books, with some interesting analysis of how animals and nature are presented to younger readers.
There is now, however, compelling evidence that children’s interest in animals might reflect innate desires of their own, rather than some adult indoctrination scheme. The ecopsychologist Olin Eugene Myers from Western Washington University has written that, for children, ‘the animal emerges … as a truly subjective other whose immediate presence is compelling’. Vanessa LoBue and her colleagues at Rutgers University and the University of Virginia published a researcher paper in 2011 showing that children under four responded preferentially to live animals — fish, hamsters, snakes, and spiders — than to ‘interesting’ toys. The children gestured more frequently to the animals, talked more to them, and asked more questions about them, and parents encouraged this interest.
Certainly worthwhile reading if you are interested in this area, but also good for parents who are reading stories to their children.