Dylan Ward and Children's Literature – The Written Word

What His Work May Say About the Person.

Among Dylan Ward’s numerous professional accomplishments, he graduated from Simmons College in 2003 with a Masters of Arts in Children’s Literature. Simmons is the first in the nation to offer a Masters-level program in children’s literature and has a reputation of being one of the premier institutions of higher learning in many disciplines. From the children’s literature program description the catalog states:

” To develop a critical vocabulary essential for appraising text and illustration, students apply a high level of scholarly analysis to children’s literature ranging from folklore and mythology to contemporary realistic fiction and nonfiction.”

Dylan, in fact, was the only student quoted in the Simmons College Catalog on their website after he graduated:

Dylan Ward quote from Simmons College Catalog

Dylan Ward quote from Simmons College Catalog

Note: The Simmons website was updated and Dylan’s quote was removed from the catalog after his indictment in the Wone murder case and after we posted a link on our site.

What interpretations can one derive about Dylan’s view of the world and children’s literature? As mentioned in his background page, Dylan was a founder of a small children’s fiction publishing house and authored several young children’s books with titles like “Naughty Jack”, “Silly Sally”, “The Loneliest Tree in the World” and “Forget-Me-Not”. If one puts these titles into the context of Ward’s quote, how do texts create their readers… and …how do words and pictures ricochet to ironic effect?

Questions we think Mr. Ward might be asking himself right now.  What are your thoughts?

And as a side note, if anyone has access to any of Mr. Ward’s books, we would love to review them!

– Posted by Michael

20 comments for “Dylan Ward and Children's Literature – The Written Word

  1. Anonymous
    02/26/2009 at 4:07 PM

    This is a perfect example of what is really wrong with this site. It seems that you all have a feeling of pressure to just write something sometimes, so you dive into psycho-babble instead of focusing on being a useful provider of information. Flip the tables: Let’s think about what this entry tells me about your “interpretation of the world”: Does this mean that you read a lot of stories as a kid about being a hero and helping people out in need? About how the world has it all wrong and you — yes, you! all four of you! — are going to make things better? Frankly, sophomoric entries like this just make you look like morons — and they are insulting to the seriousness of Robert’s tragic death. Relax. Spend a little more time. Think of something intelligent to say. Be less Oprah and more Toobin.

  2. L.
    02/26/2009 at 4:41 PM

    I agree with Anon. This post is irrelevant.

  3. David
    02/26/2009 at 5:09 PM

    Assuming that Dylan Ward has anything interesting to say about children’s literature, I suppose my first thought is to reach for my copy of “Sewer, Gas and Electric,” by Matt Ruff.

    I’ll save you the trip to the Amazon website…
    “Sewer, Gas & Electric is the exuberant follow-up to Matt Ruff’s cult classic and critically acclaimed debut Fool on the Hill. High above Manhattan android and human steelworkers are constructing a new Tower of Babel for billionaire Harry Gant, as a monument to humanity’s power to dream. In the festering sewers below a darker game is afoot: a Wall Street takeover artist has been murdered, and Gant’s crusading ex-wife, Joan Fine, has been hired to find out why. The year is 2023, and Ayn Rand has been resurrected and bottled in a hurricane lamp to serve as Joan’s assistant; an eco-terrorist named Philo Dufrense travels in a pink-and-green submarine designed by Howard Hughes; a Volkswagen Beetle is possessed by the spirit of Abbie Hoffman; Meisterbrau, a mutant great white shark, is running loose in the sewers beneath Times Square; and a one-armed 181-year-old Civil War veteran joins Joan and Ayn in their quest for the truth. All of whom, and many more besides, are caught up in a vast conspiracy involving Walt Disney, J. Edgar Hoover, and a mob of homicidal robots. “

  4. ladydetective
    02/26/2009 at 5:11 PM

    I completely disagree with the other commenters. I think looking at any facet of the defandants’ characters is vital to understanding this case. Oprah provides a valuable, albeit softer, way of looking at and understanding people and their motives. If anything, the reason that this case hasn’t been solved thus far is b/c there hasn’t been a thorough or even partial examination of their character.

  5. Jackson
    02/26/2009 at 5:30 PM

    Interesting post. These whiners who are so critical never offer anything of value to the conversation.
    Just more bleating. Tell them to start their own blog. Keep up the good work guys. Your efforts are appeciated.

    What do you think will happen at tomorrow’s hearing? Will the defendants attend?

    • I know who did it
      02/26/2009 at 6:45 PM

      I appreciate all their hard work, but wouldn’t mind a bit more concrete blog entries such as the following:

      1. What do you think happened that night?

      2. If you could ask the police to look into anything further or closer, what would it be?

  6. Lance
    02/26/2009 at 8:49 PM

    Given the disagreement between me and L. in the previous post, it ought to tell you something that we agree here: Anon has it right, and this post is thoroughly pointless. The titles you list are titles of children’s books; do you really think these are a deep reflection into the soul of the author? Perhaps the murderer is Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are; In the Night Kitchen)–he clearly does wild things like breaking into people’s kitchens at night, which matches the intruder theory. Or Dr. Seuss, who’s obviously a pedophile (Hop On Pop; There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!) with fetishes for feet and animals (The Foot Book; I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!).

    You’ve gone through Dylan’s work and picked out a few titles that you hope sound suggestive. Why you think “The Loneliest Tree in the World” is any more suggestive than “The Giving Tree”, or why “Naughty Jack” is deeply meaningful as opposed to the hundreds of other children’s books with “Naughty” in the title (Naughty Naughty Pets, Naughty Madge Goes to a Farm, Richard Scarry’s Naughty Bunny, Naughty Boy Ma Xiaotiao)….

    This is just absurd.

  7. J. Edgar
    02/26/2009 at 9:33 PM

    Lance – You agree with L… Now if you could only get the Israelis and the Palestinians to come together. His post was posing an open ended question on a cool find, not a statement of fact. Lighten up dude.

    These guys are scouring the public record for anything that’s out there and rightly holding up what they find to the light.

    • Lance
      02/26/2009 at 9:45 PM

      It’s not a “cool find”. It’s a meaningless find. It’s like the “Bible Code” guy who took every 207th letter of Genesis and found that it spelled a cryptic prophecy about the Great Fire of London…if you go out looking for meaning, you can squeeze meaning out of the meaningless.

      • J. Edgar
        02/26/2009 at 10:22 PM

        Fair enough Lance. I see your point. Let’s agree to disagree. I like ‘I Know’s’ suggestion above. I’m interested to hear your takes.

        And WTF is up with this civil case delay?

  8. 02/28/2009 at 7:30 PM

    can someone report on the mental health/history of these girls? is it true that psych pills were in the house? which ones, whose were they, was anyone depressed, why?,etc.

  9. Clio
    07/26/2009 at 6:54 PM

    While Simmons ought to have quoted an alum of some accomplishment (such as TV newswoman Gwen Ifill), the college unwittingly did a service by opening a window, however small, into the opaque and limited world of Dylan Ward. How do texts create their own readers? Yes, how did Joe’s narrative create its own following in the immediate aftermath of August 2, 2006? And, how did this website foster a counternarrative late last year?

    Another question: Was Dylan “the Little Red Riding Hood” that tried to take down the Wone Wikipedia site, or was that an urban legend because such an operation would take persistence, a quality that Dylan displayed only with Mr. Price?

    The other part of Dylan’s catalogue rave is both painful and laughable now: How do texts and words ricochet to ironic effect? Well, many commentators have pointed to many ironies in the affadavits alone. Even Dylan’s potential choice of bedtime reading boomeranged back on him, given what we know now.

    Finally, Editors, have you received copies of Dylan’s oeuvre yet? Perhaps, you can receive permission from the publisher to post them online: then, we can all review the stories, which may reflect (and reflect upon) their enigmatic author.

  10. 07/26/2009 at 7:19 PM

    Tragically, Dylan couldn’t even get one of the Brothers Grimm to represent him.

  11. Clio
    07/26/2009 at 10:44 PM

    Yes, but who needs the Brothers Grimm, when you have the Brothers Price in your corner?

    • Bea
      07/27/2009 at 1:05 AM

      And Brother Price has Brother Grimm representing HIM – undoubtedly, and sadly, lead counsel for all three defendants.

  12. 06/11/2010 at 2:21 PM

    Well, I believe that clears up a couple of challenges for myself. How about anybody else?

  13. susan
    09/26/2010 at 10:42 AM

    Not sure if this was ever posted on the site. It looks like D. Ward is in the second group photo. He’s mentioned in that article.

    It may be Autumn, and there may be less headline news on the site, but I don’t see most of us losing interest in this case:

    http://www.bbboston.org/download/bbbPages_2003_Summer.pdf

  14. susan
    09/26/2010 at 10:45 AM

    Third group photo.

    • Clio
      01/02/2012 at 3:26 PM

      A belated thanks here, Susan. I had not seen this 2003 photo of Dyl in the above link before, which must have been taken around the time that he met Culuket.

      Photography, like literature, is an angle that investigators may still want to probe. There must have been more photos of interest than those seized from Joe’s work computer: let’s hope that they surface soon.

      • susan
        01/02/2012 at 8:05 PM

        Thanks, Clio. He looks like he might feel a little out of place. Only male at the table, and seems to be the only one not smiling. An omen of things to come?

        You’re right about photos. I sincerely hope DC investigators and police in 2012 earn their paychecks c/o our taxpayer dollars.

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