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The Brightening Glance: Imagination and Childhood Paperback – February 13, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Spitz, who teaches arts-related interdisciplinary seminars at the University of Maryland, is a passionate advocate for the aesthetic imaginations of young children. She wants adults to tune in to their toddlers' ways of seeing, and by responding to what they're experiencing, find ways to extend the experience. If a toddler looks at his mashed potatoes and says, "Tuh-tuh," Spitz says, Mom should observe those potatoes from the child's point of view and respond with "turtle." Mothers might attend special music classes with their little ones; whole families might get together to stage home productions of operas that the toddler's going to be attending. Spitz's own rather imaginative view of contemporary child-rearing may strike some as a throwback, with nuclear families collaborating on homemade birthday parties complete with puppet shows. Her text, which reads like a collected lecture series, is sprinkled with obvious suggestions (parents should visit preschools and meet teachers before enrolling children) and concludes with a set of scenarios imagining different careers for one's "little fellow"—musician, mathematician, scientist—each usefully enriched by an imaginative childhood. Even if parents want "aesthetic rather than anesthetic children," Spitz's program seems rather ethereal. (Feb. 21)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Spitz, an artist, dancer, writer, parent, and scholar, explores children's imaginative lives and how their sense of the aesthetic influences their emotional development. Drawing on childhood recollections, her experiences as a parent, observations, and stories by other parents, she illustrates how children learn and navigate life with their imaginations. The book is not organized by age categories, though Spitz focuses on toddlers through adolescents. Instead, Spitz investigates certain themes: the room as a stage, sanctuary, and refuge; treasures from books to favorite toys; scary stories that reveal much about children's aesthetic sense. Spitz parallels the imaginative process for children with the creative process for artists of all kinds and offers parents advice on when to be quiet and listen and when to participate in the imaginings. Engaged parents offer "the boon of mental stimulation and energetic participation in their games." This is an absorbing look at imagination and how parents--of whatever creative abilities--can encourage their children's flights of fancy and revisit their own childhoods. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
A better insight into what the book contains would have saved me time and money.
Parents are under so much pressure today that they often rush through the time they spend with their children. The Brightening Glance can help them to slow down and absorb the richness of the world, for their own benefit as well as for their children's. Those who are familiar with Dr. Spitz's earlier work, Inside Picture Books know already what kind of pleasure awaits them in reading this new book.