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A Thousand Days of Wonder: A Scientist's Chronicle of His Daughter's Developing Mind Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 2, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Avery (April 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583333479
  • ASIN: B002IKLO7S
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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."
-Financial Times

"A cross between a biography of a baby growing into a child, a scientists's case-study notes and a beautifully written novel."
-The Guardian [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."
-Sunday Telegraph

"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."
-Sunday Telegraph

"A book that takes the reader right to the heart of how we become human and how we deal with it."
-The Scotsman<./I>

"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."
-Sunday Herald

About the Author

CHARLES FERNYHOUGH studied developmental psychology at Cambridge University and is now a part-time lecturer in psychology at Durham University. He lives in County Durham, England, with his wife and two children. He is the author of the novel The Auctioneer and more than thirty research articles.

More About the Author

Charles Fernyhough is an award-winning writer and psychologist. His most recent book, A Thousand Days of Wonder: A Scientist's Chronicle of His Daughter's Developing Mind, was a Parade magazine pick of the week and has been translated into seven languages. The author of two novels, The Auctioneer and A Box of Birds, Fernyhough has written for the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the Sunday Telegraph; contributes to public radio's Radiolab; blogs for Psychology Today; and is a Reader in Psychology at Durham University, UK. Pieces of Light was a Sunday Times, Sunday Express, and New Scientist book of the year. Further details are available at www.charlesfernyhough.com.

Customer Reviews

I am reading this book during my sons first 1000 days, and it is fascinating.
Angela Vance
Overall this book was neither a good memoir or a good neuroscience read, the latter being what I was really hoping for, and it left me very disappointed.
In Search of Value
Kind of fun, tho it may break a few illusions, as you think the babe is fascinated by your face.
Reluctant Consumer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on June 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Charles Fernyhough, the author of this book, is a psychologist who is fascinated by the way the brains of young children develop. When his own wife becomes pregnant, he finds himself with the perfect test subject for all of his theories, and the perfect opportunity for close observation of an infant.

Fernyhough delves into the way the brain develops in the womb, the amazing way the mind forges connections even before birth. When his daughter, Athena, is actually born, her doting father spends a great deal of time observing and making notes about her behavior, a close study that continues up through her third year of life.

As a parent of small children myself, I found this account of developing brains to be both fascinating and familiar. It was interesting to find out that many of the emerging behaviors of my children were universal. I loved the way the author spoke to his daughter, and his adoration of her was clear from the way he wrote about their interactions.

This book occasionally got bogged down in the psychology lessons, though, going into some detail about why certain behaviors happened or how they happened, or how certain other scientists over time had observed similar behaviors. Much of this information I already knew, although I can't say for sure if I know it because it's basic information that everyone knows, or if I know it because I've specifically read about these studies before. I was much more interested in reading about the author's conversations with his little girl and how her personhood emerged.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Baber on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(I read this as the new mother of a two-month old son, and I keep going back to it every couple of months as he changes with breathtaking rapidity....)

A seriously scientific book that repeatedly made me laugh out loud and choke back tears....what an accomplishment. Fernyhough edifies with well-annotated psychology, entertains with beautifully turned phrases, and moves by evoking his own somewhat melancholic spirit and his daughter's vast, inimitable personality. He really made me feel the enormity of a new human being's mind.

This book is great nourishment for the mind and soul of a new parent.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By In Search of Value on December 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this after hearing it mentioned on a Radio Lab episode thinking it would be an interesting read about infant brain development while I'm expecting our second child. The book is half memoir and half neuroscience but I found the book's split personality kept it from really being good at either attempt. The memoir sections read like forced and impersonal accounts included only to transition between scientific studies. The scientific studies are too often things that one would find in "What to Expect" which was not the level that I was expecting. Overall this book was neither a good memoir or a good neuroscience read, the latter being what I was really hoping for, and it left me very disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Betty L. Barnett on July 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I still haven't finished A Thousand Days of Wonder (love the title) because I'm savoring the prose and beauty. This is a fascinating trip through the garden of a child's mind, from the beginning to the end of year three. Even more fascinating for me is that some of it takes place in Australia where I have a granddaughter who is expecting. I love the parts that focus on the little girl and skip the parts that are too scientific.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Felixcity on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author bridges the considerable gap between his perspective and that of his infant daughter's. With a scientist's eye, he examines what the world looks and feels like as a child's senses and mind develop.

Handy if you want to understand how your baby behaviours and the way they experience their surroundings and those they interact with.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book that talks about current research in the context of telling the story of Charles Fernyhough's daughter's infancy and early childhood. It's very readable and approachable.
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By Angela Vance on May 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am reading this book during my sons first 1000 days, and it is fascinating. I highly recommend reading this book if you have a newborn. I am learning about my son's brain development as it happens right before my eyes. This book gives great insight to newborn behavior.
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