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Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them [Hardcover]

Marjorie E. Taylor


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Book Description

1 Feb 1999
At the same time, parents sometimes wonder if the imaginary companion might be a sign that something is wrong. Does having a pretend friend mean that the child is in emotional distress? That he or she has difficulty communicating with other children? In this fascinating book, Marjorie Taylor provides an informed look at current thinking about pretend friends, dispelling many myths about them. In the past a child with an imaginary companion might have been considered peculiar, shy, or even troubled, but according to Taylor the reality is much more positive--and interesting. Not only are imaginary companions surprisingly common, the children who have them tend to be less shy than other children. They also are better able to focus their attention and to see things from another person's perspective. In addition to describing imaginary companions and the reasons children create them, Taylor discusses other aspects of children's fantasy lives, such as their belief in Santa, their dreams, and their uncertainty about the reality of TV characters. Adults who remember their own childhood pretend friends will be interested in the chapter on the relationship between imaginary companions in childhood and adult forms of fantasy. Taylor also addresses practical concerns, providing many useful suggestions for parents. For example, she describes how children often express their own feelings by attributing them to their imaginary companion. If you have a child who creates imaginary creatures, or if you work with pre-schoolers, you will find this book very helpful in understanding the roles that imaginary companions play in children's emotional lives.

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Taylor sucessfully combines a balanced review of a century of research on the phenomenon with a sensitivity to some of those wider issues. Nature question about the nervous system - how to repair the damage inflicted by the ever more violent ways of peace and war and the depredations of age ... One is surprised that the need for such a work has not been recognised before. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol 96

About the Author

Marjorie Taylor is Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon.

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First Sentence
IMAGINARY companions often get bad press. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of information and interesting 2 Jan 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This didn't read like a dissertation to me. It does have a lot a factual information about what it means to have an imaginary companion (like, does it mean your kid is going to have trouble making friends, or does it mean that you are unusually creative in other ways). But it also has a lot of very interesting stories about children and their friends, and it's even got some of the kids drawings of what they look like. Those reminded me of what it was like to be a kid and how strange the world must seem to them. So I thought it was a nice mix of facts and stories that was easy to read, but wasn't oversimplified.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars informative and fun 3 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Very well written, very scholarly; Dr. Taylor lovingly describes this fantastic aspect of children's lives; full of lively examples and in depth analysis; we strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in imagination.
5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a professional thesis. 16 Jun 2001
By S. A. Farley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a parent with a young daughter, I was seeking a book about children and imaginary friends that contained the following: humorous/interesting/informative stories about children and their imaginary friends; how to react/behave/deal with the children and their make-believe pals; proof that my child isn't wacky - that they are quite normal despite possessing a very active imagination; and the exciting promise of what kind of adult my child might become (from influence of having imaginary friends.)
This book was woefully inadequate for my needs. Although I was reassured that it's very normal for children to have imaginary friends, none of my other expectations were met.
The main problem I had with this book is that it reads like a graduate thesis. The author details results of many surveys and research projects in a dry, professional manner with little or no warmth and humor. I think my first clue to the style of this book would have been the back jacket where all praises were written ONLY by professionals in the psychology field.
Unless you are psychology professional, I doubt this book will suit your needs.
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