Mills examines three of Rubinstein's children's books, Keep Me Company (1992), Jake and Pete (1995), and Jake and Pete and the Stray Dogs (1997), in the light of psychiatrist John Bowlby's writing on Attachment Theory and Separation Anxiety, arguing that despite offering a helpful context for reading the texts, 'aspects of the picture story books[s] remain outside his theoretical framework (7). Bowlby is notably silent regarding Freud's Oedipus complex, nor does he 'theorize the body' in any detail and Mills looks at the texts in relation to the gaps between the the two approaches (7). She extends the reading beyond the Bowlbian paradigm for mother-child separation anxiety revealing a much darker message regarding anxiety, loss and death, in the texts, stating that, 'In so far as the books explore a child's separation anxiety by way of animals' troubles, the happy endings are a fragile fiction' (9).
Drawing attention to the pedagogical function of children's literature, Pearce's examination of Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians considers how this text in particular, 'constructs national identity and how gender plays a crucial role in the mythologising process' (11). Pearce outlines the historical and literary context of the 1890's by referring to Frank L. Baum's The Wizard of Oz (American) and Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows (English), as having the power to transmit 'myth-like messages about national identity' (10). She includes a brief synopsis of E L Haverfield's Queensland Cousins as an example of the predominance of British social (class) and moral values in children's literature at the time, which frames her reading of Turner's novel as distinctly Australian in its nationalist/patriotic discourse. However, Pearce concludes that while initially Seven Little Australians appears different from other colonial children's novels, essentially it maintains and perpetuates similar gender, race and class hierarchies to those of its counterparts. She contends that fundamentally, the narrative's representation of gender reinforces patriachal dominance and hegemonic masculinity and that the novels 'myth-making centres it very much in the misogynistic literary world of its time. In the end, female characters, like their creators, are put back firmly into their place' (16).
Bradford is concerned here with the tendency to treat the terms 'sentimentality' and 'sentimental' as universal and unchanging, arguing instead that notions of sentimentality are largely culturally-dependent and furthermore, are often attached to the mythmaking practices associated with national identity (17). According to Richard White, national mythologies and cultural sentimentalism are 'invented within a framework of modern Western ideas about science, nature, race, society and nationality' (17). After a close analyses of the listed texts, Bradford contends that 'ideas about sentimentality are inextricably connected with assumptions of the patriarchal relations which are still dominant within the institutions and practices of contemporary societies' (26).