New Horizons in English Basic Reader C
This reading scheme text from the 1970s includes a particularly interesting portrayal of gender distinctions. The New Horizons series, which included ‘Basic Readers’ and ‘Extension readers’, featured the siblings Tom and Nora, their parents, and their best friends Paul and Jane. This is an elementary text with simple sentences and key words printed at the bottom of each page. The inside back cover has a full list of ‘New words’ from the text. Each page is brightly illustrated with colour pictures of the characters and action. The narrative is continuous for the most part, centring on a family picnic. The text depicts the traditional nuclear family within which gender roles are clearly delineated. When the children return from school ‘Mammy’ is waiting to give them dinner. The illustrations show her getting ready to serve them the prepared food and standing in the background with a tea towel. When ‘Daddy’ appears he is wearing a shirt and tie and tells the children that he has the day off tomorrow and that the family will go on a picnic. When the family leave, Daddy takes ‘his’ car. Stereotyped gender distinctions also apply to the children. The boys, Tom and Paul, play with an aeroplane, a toy bus and a ball, while the girls, Nora and Jane, play with dolls. When the picnic is decided upon, Nora instantly offers to ‘help Mammy to get the things ready’ by making sandwiches while Tom is told to ‘fly down to the shop to get lemonade and milk’ (15). When Tom and Nora are playing at Paul and Jane’s house, it is Nora who says ‘It is time to be off… It is after six o’clock’ (11). In contrast to this responsible attitude, when the four children arrive at the picnic, Tom immediately runs towards the lake before being told to help unload the car. The boy characters are livelier and more spirited. They are the first to jump into the lake and make jokes about drinking ‘a lake of lemonade’, for which Jane reprimands them primly: ‘What a thing to say!... You always say things like that!’ (24).
Illustrations by Terry Myler
Place of Publication:
The Educational Company of Ireland Ltd incorporating Longman Browne & Nolan Ltd
Date of Publication:
32 p. col. illustr. 21 cm.
Reader, Textbook, Gender, Families
General Catalogue (Children’s Books) - NLI