Reading this piece on the Guardian book blog about whether or not to give children books whose moral assumptions have become dated, I thought about our previous discussion about reviewers correcting themselves. What do you do when it's not so much the reviewer who's changed his mind, but the times? The Guardian article discusses Brit favorites Enid Blyton and Willard Price (a writer unknown to me); a similar debate here might focus on "Carolyn Keene" and "Franklin W. Dixon," although their series books have been regularly revised to remove what's now perceived (by those with the power to do something about it) as racial stereotyping.
What's more of a question here is what we should do about classics such as Laura Ingalls Wilder's books or The Five Chinese Brothers or Little Black Sambo. The latter two have been re-illustrated and retold--taking out the stereotyping, to be sure, but also overelaborating the stories beyond the patience of a story hour audience--and Wilder's white-settler tales have been joined by a host of alternative narratives, notably Louise Erdrich's Birchbark House and The Game of Silence.
I'm guessing that what the Guardian treats as a question about parents handing down their childhood favorites to to their children is, in this country, more a concern about what gets intrenched in school curricula. Do we have here an Enid Blyton whose longevity is cause for concern?