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Mother's Almanac.

The original Mother's Almanac by Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons appeared in 1975. A success from its beginning, this now classic guidebook on child care from birth to 6 (and sometimes beyond) has been a parent's bible for 17 years. A few years ago, Marguerite Kelly thought it was time to acknowledge and identify some significant changes in child rearing. Her thorough revision is a sizable paperback tome illustrated by Rebecca Hirsch that is fully as informative as the first edition.

In the Preface, Kelly notes that children have not changed but lifestyles and ways of speaking or writing about children have. New practices emphasize sexual equality. The child is no longer referred to as "he" alone, but as "he or she."

The many social and education changes are more thoroughly discussed in Chapter One, "Realities," and Chapter Two, "Influences." Changes in family structures

and lifestyles are the most pervasive differences: single-parent families, working mothers, the economic necessity for two incomes, the ever growing need for nurseries and child care centers. Caring substitutes have become the norm, either in the home with infants and toddlers or, later, in child care centers and kindergartens.

Economic circumstances and parent-child relationships put great strains upon congenial family living. Divorce and the "mother-away-all-day" syndrome can be obstacles to maintaining sound and loving family relationships. Family-together meals are almost a thing of the past. Adult supervision over children's activities, particularly watching television, is too often lacking or ineffective.

But not all aspects of family life are worsening. Over the past two decades, parent cooperation in child rearing has increased. Fathers help in ways that would have been repugnant or nonexistent two generations ago. They change diapers, bathe babies, push strollers and carry their offspring on their shoulders when out strolling, holding fast to little feet.

Chapter Two, "Influences," deals with environmental concerns of the child beyond infancy. The authors cover the home, play facilities, playmates, learning centers, family feasts and outings, as well as parental encouragement of self-reliance and responsibility.

Chapter Three, "Curiosity," outlines the marvelous opportunities for children to develop their natural talents and creativity as they grow older and their knowledge and curiosity expand. Parents are encouraged to open doors to reading and writing, hobbies, music, dance and the arts. Kelly is full of suggestions for rewarding, satisfying home activities--from baking brownies to refinishing furniture. As she says, "|This is~ the only child care book that teaches parents how to teach their children to French polish." Reviewed by Sylvia Sunderlin, mother and former ACEI Associate Editor for Special Publications
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Sunderlin, Sylvia
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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