1-3 | The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World

Book Review

The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World

Susan Linn
New York: The New Press, 2008. Suggested readings, notes. 231pp. $24.95 cloth. ISBN: 9781565849709

by David Elkind

First Paragraph:

On reading the title of Susan Linn's new book, one might well ask: Why does anyone have to make the case for the benefits of make-believe play? More than a century ago, in his analysis of Little Hans, Sigmund Freud demonstrated how a child's makebelieve could serve a therapeutic purpose. Since Freud's time, play therapy has become the most frequently used technique in the child psychiatrist's, and child clinical psychologist's, toolbox. More recently, Bruno Bettleheim in The Uses of Enchantment (1976) took the benefits of fantasy outside of the clinic. He made a powerful argument for the role of fairy tales in the healthy development of all children. But times have changed, and with today's emphasis on academic achievement, testing, and accountability, play and fantasy are under attack as a waste of time and a luxury we simply cannot afford in this high-tech, global economy.