Many psychologists, most notably Jean Piaget, have used their offspring as test subjects, but none has done so with such sweetness as Fernyhough brings to his account of his daughter's development during the first three years of her life. From her initial appearance on a sonogram, we watch as baby Athena sorts out her sensory input, recognizes her quot;self,quot; learns that other people are more than extensions of her own will, and walks, talks, and remembers. All of this is basic developmental psych, readily available in many forms, including parenting manuals and textbooks. What makes this title outstanding is that it reads like fiction. (In addition to being a psychologist, the author is also a published novelist.) In vignettes about life with Athena, Fernyhough beautifully captures the mix of frustration and poignancy that will seem achingly familiar to all parents of toddlers. This beautiful book is highly recommended.
-Mary Ann Hughes, formerly Neill P.L., Pullman, WA
"An ambitious and highly intelligent piece of work. If the basis of love is attention, a quality of attention, then Fernyhough has written a 250-page love letter to his daughter. And any parent, particularly one with a young child, will be both moved and enlightened by it."
"A cross between a biography of a baby growing into a child, a scientists's case-study notes and a beautifully written novel."
[from feature article]
"An elegantly written, warm, thoughtful, novelistic account of his first three years with his daughter Athena ... [does] a lovely job of conveying what life with a baby is like."
-Alison Gopnik, writing in The Times Literary Supplement
"A triumph of informed imagination and a startling testament of love."
"Fernyhough has used his daughter's development as a hook on which to hang a considered, up-to-date summary of what we know about how babies develop. But The Baby in the Mirror
is more than a high-concept popular science book with some family snaps thrown in.... When Fernyhough needs to sum up an idea about development quickly and accurately, he looks to his daughter, and where a lesser writer would have reached for generalisations, he simply tells us what he sees: the look of comic concentration with which Athena registers the effects of an action; the surreal cack-handedness of her first jokes."
"A book that takes the reader right to the heart of how we become human and how we deal with it."
"But The Baby In The Mirror is also a memoir of sorts, a hymn to a child from a loving father. And that is how it reads."