Title: The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood
Author: Selma H. Fraiberg
Publication Year: 1996
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Review: I have mixed feelings about this book. It wasn’t really particularly helpful in general and it was kind of long and dense. However, for having originally been written in the 50’s it was surprisingly not outdated, I thought. There were also parts of it which were presently helpful, such as the section that describes a girl berating her imaginary pet tiger to behave in a more civilized manner. My son has been telling me that his rattlesnake is nice and doesn’t bite you, which has had me a little concerned that I should keep reiterating how dangerous rattlesnakes can be. According to this book, his behavior is a totally normal and acceptable way for a young child to feel less afraid of things they have no control over. The book also seems like it could be helpful in the future since it covers the first 6 years of life as opposed to the first 1 to 3 years like most parenting books about young children. It has a very long section on sex and sexuality with pretty reasonable (honest and non-prudish) advice in my opinion.
My favorite thing about this book, though, is that it has passages that are really amusing. The author has a dry humor that frequently shines though in her 1950’s descriptions. For example, in this section describing a fear of vacuum cleaners, the author writes, “When hooked up to an electrical wall outlet it inflates with a deafening roar and sucks everything in its path into its chromium-plated jaw. ‘It’s nothing, dear. Only a vacuum cleaner!’ Only a vacuum cleaner. Dear Lady, I can only hope that one morning you will rise from your bed and encounter a roaring iron monster twice your size, steadily eating a path toward you, its monster guts shrieking with the labor of unspeakable digestion. I can only hope, Madam, that you will ignore the sales talk and take to your heels.(pg. 125)” Hilarious. I read several passages to my husband for their entertainment value alone. (Personal Rating: 7/10)