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Peller, L. (1959). Daydreams and Children's Favorite Books—Psychoanalytic Comments. Psychoanal. St. Child, 14:414-433.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 14:414-433

Daydreams and Children's Favorite Books—Psychoanalytic Comments

Lili Peller

When well-known authors write for children they seldom take pride in it. In former centuries they often chose a pseudonym, while more recently they apparently consider it necessary to explain it—albeit apologize for it. (A closer examination of the field necessitates a revision: since about the 1930's the writing of a children's book has for many writers become a token of "having arrived," of being a successful author.) Ironically enough, there are quite a few authors whose other writings have sunk into oblivion—yet the children's story they wrote has kept its freshness and is still in print. Their name would be forgotten if it were not for the juvenile they wrote. A writer may tell us how he tossed off a children's book in a few leisurely hours. While this is not likely to increase the general public's respect for juveniles, it makes us more curious about the vitality of the daydream behind the story.

In recent decades the esteem for writers of children's books has greatly risen, in line with the general tendency to relish a much wider range of productions in all fields of art (for instance, primitive, exotic, psychotic, and frankly amateurish art). In keeping with this trend, a publisher sometimes even brings out a story written and illustrated by a child. Such a book may be very appealing because its author is so genuine, so earnest, so involved in his own writing—but as a story it usually falls flat.


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