_The Case for Make Believe_, Susan Linn
First (and I knew this when I picked it up), there is the Raffi rec on the back. Not a good sign, especially in a 2008 printing. Basically, anyone in 2009 who thinks that Raffi is a reasonable source of kid advice probably has teenagers. Or possibly is one, I don't know. (ETA: Or is Canadian?) (ETAYA: Or, possibly, is about 10 years younger than me and raising very young children listening to the music of their childhood.)
Second, there's the whole puppet thing. This woman is obsessed with puppets. Go her, after all, anyone who can build an entire career around puppetry has truly got something going on. But you do have to sit and wonder about what someone that obsessed with puppets means when she thinks play = make believe.
I picked it up knowing that, and knowing that the anti-consumerist stance would annoy me (hey, I'm one of those people who thinks you really can spend money to make your life better in meaningful ways. also, that romanticizing poverty and childhood of the past is probably a bad idea). Here's where things really start to break down for me, on page 15:
"That funny, frustrating period when babies repeatedly and deliberately drop toys, spoons, and everything they can get their hands on is really an exploration of gravity."
Yeah. The kid doesn't expect that new thing to hit the ground. That's why they look so shocked every goddamn time it does. Not. No, dear, babies drop things to make adults pick them up. That's why they laugh when you do, laugh harder when you complain about it and act disappointed and cheated when you leave it on the ground. Dropping has virtually nothing to do with gravity, other than that they have the physical capacity to drop and do not generally yet have the capacity to throw. Dropping toys is a way of interacting with people.
Here's what's really going to annoy me about this book: in my world, with T., play is about moving one's body and things through space in new and interesting ways (ideally on or in wheeled vehicles, secondarily on swings and bouncy surfaces). In my world, as a child, a lot of my play involved building things, with legos, lincoln logs, erector sets when I could get my hands on one. I'm reasonably certain that Linn's definition of play does not extend to either of these. This makes me cranky, in part because of the B.'s story about the Waldorf school getting all over their son's case because in "free play" he did not engage in "pretending", but instead used items from the natural world (rocks) and created games which he then played with another kid (hey, at least it was sociable).