83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
A very good book, indeed...,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Paperback)
Bruno Bettelheim makes a very good case for the importance of reading fairy tales to children. He proposes that by hearing about life-threatening problems, serious problems, children are given vital information for the planning of their lives and the formation of their personalities.
By hearing of success against great odds, children are given hope that they, too, as powerless as they may feel themselves (as children), can one day hope to "live happily ever after."
This is in sharp contrast to programming such as "Barney" which presents an unreal fairy-tale present. While children may enjoy seeing programs where there is no violence, they nevertheless DO need to have the reassurance that the difficulties they experience in daily living are universal, and that by perseverance they can develop into good strong, kind people.
The author defines a fairy story as one in which there is a happy ending. Exceptions are (notably) "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "The Little Match Girl".
I took a renewed interest in reading these tales to my youngsters, and found that indeed they did appear to be most receptive to them. And no longer did rather gory details disturb me, as the children DO seem to realize that 1) it is just a story, and 2) there is in fact some reasonableness to the idea of unhappy people in this suffering world.
I recommend this book very highly, indeed, to parents of young children. But Dr. Bettelheim cautions against telling the children how good the stories are for them, lest the full impact be somewhat dissipated.