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Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living.

Martin H. Levinson. Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living. Illustrations by Paul D. Johnston. New York: iUniverse, 2007.

Marty Levinson, aka Martin H. Levinson, PhD, brings general semantics to life in 25 fresh and fast-paced tales that blend the mundane and the bizarre into serious fancy. The Mary Poppins lyric, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," could describe what Levinson is doing here in these individual GS lessons, each sharply written from a wild imagination with entertaining whimsy, and each aptly supported by a wacky Paul Johnston illustration. This 115-page book demands extensive field trials by GS-inclined parents, as bedtime reading to young children, and by GS-inclined teachers, as classroom content for elementary and middle schoolers. Everyone (forgive the "allness") can find enjoyment here, while having their good personal GS habits and practices reinforced.

Each tale stands alone. The table of contents includes subtitles stating the specific GS lesson emphasized in each tale. For example, "Amanda and the Good-Looking Plumber," a clever and funny account of romantic pursuit, is subtitled, "To make accurate inferences, consider the many possible causes of an event." Among his time-traveling characters, Levinson gives us a couple of kings, a genie, some extra-terrestrials, gnomes, talking animals, holograms, S.I. Hayakawa, Neil Postman, Albert Einstein and Alfred, the groundskeeper in the land of Reality. But most characters are ordinary people like the plumber Rod and his pursuer, Amanda--"She liked the way he walked, she liked the way he talked, she liked the way he caulked."

By creating an imaginative space so enjoyable, comfortable, and relaxed, Levinson makes GS extraordinarily accessible. Students of general semantics in these tales include Frank, the welder, and Peggy, the office worker, who apply general semantics matter-of-factly in their homes, on their jobs and with their friends.

With Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living, Levinson now has published two GS books in the short time since his retirement from a 35-year career as teacher, counselor, and administrator with New York City's Department of Education. In Tale #25, "Carol's Extraterrestrial Adventure: To not be bored, treat the familiar as unfamiliar," Rudy, the chief greeter from Planet X, seems to speak for Levinson when he tells Carol, "'I'm always looking for ways to better my performance, I could work on doing that for a thousand years and there'd still be plenty of room for improvement. We Xers have an inquisitive outlook. It helps us to stay young and alert to possibilities for personal growth.'"

REVIEW BY PHIL ARDERY
COPYRIGHT 2007 Institute of General Semantics
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Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved.

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Author:Ardery, Phil
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Words:417
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