As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I really love the variety of books I’ve found at my church’s book swap table. The book “the Magic of Children – Beautiful Writings About the Wonderful World of Children” immediately caught my attention.
When flipping through the book it had a dated feel in tone. It turns out the book was published in 1971, a full two years before I was born. I was very intrigued to see the photos and words of wisdom that had been collected.
Although this is a book about and not for children per se, I opened the book up at random and gave reading a few passages from it to William a try. I liked this quote about raising boys and how they would grow up to be heroes in your eyes. He glanced at it, perhaps recognizing that he’d seen men in football gear before on our television.
The next page was as far less interesting to him, despite having a color photo. This is perhaps because there was such a long poem on it.
Since his attention span was gone, I tried looking at it again when he was asleep. I liked how as a non linear book with short and long passages, the pages could be viewed in any order at all.
Some of the passages and pictures were engaging, some were not. The images of the children without their faces may have been for the viewer to project their own children onto them, or perhaps was just an artistic choice.
I really liked the nostalgic feel of the lemonade stand in the photos on this page.
As half of a couple who plans to stress to our child that all people of any race (or racial mix) are equal, I was concerned that there were almost no children of color in the book. The only African American girl shown is this one, and the photo of a blonde boy next to her in what appear to be unhappy tears is such a weird choice for it. A few children of color appear (three other African Americans) but always in groups, whereas a Caucasian child may be the only child or one of two in the subject. There does not appear to be a single child of Asian, Hispanic, or Indian racial makeup. I think it’s important that claims to celebrate children shows more diversity than this one does.
I further recognize that while books of collections of author’s quotes will be dated in that certain authors are more relevant to particular time periods than others, there is no explanation as to why the particular authors or passages were selected (as the Chicken Soup Series books do) and even the acknowledgements in the front do not seem to cover all the authors. If I was editor of this book, I would have included the source for each under the author’s name and explained more about them and why their passage was included in acknowledgments or an afterwards section.
According to Amazon, in 1988 another book entitled “The Magic of Children” was published, with similar passages and photographs, that book has over 160 pages, making it a much larger and inclusive book. It’s possible that one was inspired by this project.
I do think I would share the original book with William when he is older, however, I definitely would point out that it is not inclusive of all races. I might also ask him for his idea as to why the children in some pages are facing away from the camera, I’d love to hear a child’s ideas on that.
Rating – three baby booties out of five