AMERICAN CHILDREN THROUGH THEIR BOOKS: 1700-1835 by Monica Kiefer

AMERICAN CHILDREN THROUGH THEIR BOOKS: 1700-1835

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is somewhat broader in scope than the title would indicate, for though books provide the springboard and indicate the changing attitudes, the author, in her research, provides a good deal of background for the picture of child life during the Colonial period and the early part of the 19th century. The first period was dominated by the theological- the second by the utilitarian philosophy. It was a harsh theological code, which the Revolution did something to soften. Behavior patterns, relating to morals and manners, persisted, but children's books began to turn from the morbid pletism, to some degrees of acceptance of amusement, stimulus to imagination, saccharine coated instruction. The schools had a difficult path to make, but the philosophy of Rousseau opened the way to making the child the center of the new educational system, and Pestalozzi stressed the importance of psychology in education, but text books continued to follow set patterns. And girls made small headway. The author does enter some phases of child life that bear small connection to books,- health, recreation, etc. The insensibility to hygiene, the ignorance of preventive medicine, the practice of Colonial ""kitchen physick"", the superstitions about food and drink, the practices as to clothing, all militated against health as we know it. A sound reference book, but rather pedantic in style.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1948
Publisher: Univ. of Penna. Press