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Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith

Children’s Myths in Contemporary America

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy—is there still a place for these imaginary creatures in today’s skeptical society? More importantly, is it appropriate to encourage children to believe in these myths? In Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith, Cindy Dell Clark went straight to children and their parents for the answers. Using their insights, she offers fresh, new interpretations of the cultural and psychological roles these figures play in children’s lives. Complete with children’s vivid testimonies and colorful illustrations, this book is a revealing journey into a child’s mind and world.

"A very enjoyable read, this book is a seriously researched record of children’s myths, written with the observant accuracy of an anthropologist."—Nadja Reissland, Common Knowledge

"Clark posits some novel interpretations as well as intriguing glimpses for parents, teachers, and psychologists into the ways children shape our culture rather than merely being passive inheritors of it."—Booklist

176 pages | 8 color plates, 1 line drawing | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1995

Psychology: Developmental Psychology, Educational and School Psychology

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Flight toward Maturity
The Tooth Fairy
3. Christmas and Easter
Seasonal Rites of Passage with Modern Relevance
4. The Christmas Spirit
Santa Claus and Christmas
5. Journey down the Bunny Trail
Easter Bunny and Easter
6. Commerce, Family, and Meaning
Institutions in Children’s Ritual
7. Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith
Issues of Consequence
Child Anthropology
A Methodological Discussion

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