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NATURE IN NIGERIAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: AN APPRAISAL OF SELECTED VERSES

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ABSTRACT
This study appraises selected Children‟s nature verses drawn across five Children‟s poetry texts. It, among other things, instigates a renewed academic and creative inquiry into the field of Children‟s poetry so as to illuminate its relevance. It makes use of the ecocritical theory as a framework of analysis. In this light, it highlights the need for a reinvigorated zest in the study of Children‟s poetry, particularly nature poetry, considering that poetry for Children has not enjoyed the popularity of prose. This obviously skewed state of Children‟s literature in Nigeria calls for attention hence this study is justified in exploring Children‟s poetry. Considering its style and structure, poetry is a great literary tool that is distinguished by its beauty and urgency. Accordingly, a research on Children‟s poetry is phenomenal in bridging the widening gap amongst the three literary genres of Children‟s literature. More importantly too, dwelling on nature, a factor very familiar with Children, makes poetry even more interesting. Also in a society where the environment is constantly vitiated, a research such as this is relevant. The methodology used in the study is explanatory and interpretative in line with the qualitative research of the humanities, a process through which this study appraises nature in selected Children‟s poetry texts of Olajire Olanlokun (Children’s Poetry for
Pleasure), Philip Onuoha (Songs for my Mother), Efe Lovetta Ani (Elo Poetry) and JohnSarpong Asiedu (Sweet Talking Drums and Poetry for the Young Ones). In the end, this study establishes among other things that nature holds familiar symbols and images that could interest children to study poetry. It also reveals that poems of nature predilection stir the consciousness of children to the safety of their environment. Amidst all these findings, this study further asserts its validity which lies in enlarging the boundaries of Children‟s nature poetry in particular and Children‟s poetry in general.





CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1              Conceptual Premise
This  study  seeks  to  boost  the  corpus  of  Children‟s  literature  by  appraising  the
representation of nature in selected Nigerian Children‟s poems. It makes use of Ecocriticism as a theoretical framework in illuminating the essence of nature in the selected verses. As an introduction, chapter one foregrounds this thesis with some basics of Children‟s literature, which effectively provide a basis for the various presentations and postulations of this study. For instance, the background of the study is relevant as it advances some archetypal arguments in Children‟s literature such as the sophistry of the 21st century children vis-a-vis the crux of their literature. It also takes into account the various age levels of children in relation to their literary works. This is vital especially to writers and critics alike of
Children‟s literature as the work so produced should blend in style and theme with the children‟s age for which it was published. The onerosity of writing for children is also highlighted in the background, just as the appropriateness of diction in their literature is illuminated. The background of the study is so positioned to give impetus to other sub-topics in this chapter such as the development of Children‟s literature, statement of the problem, as well as the aim and justification of the study. The scope of the study is spelt out, just as the methodology is elucidated. In the end, the theoretical framework of ecocriticism is introduced and highlighted together with its basic tenets.

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