When I first read the book it jumped out at me the type of book this was and the value of it. There is a tendency amongst some people to downplay the importance of childhood. We use terms such as “the adult world” to mean that which is serious and important, in contrast to “child’s play” to designate that which is trivial or unimportant.
38 years ago child psychologist Bruni Bettleheim published his ground-breaking work The Uses of enchantment: the meaning and importance of fairy tales. In it he offered an explanation of the meaning and purpose of fairy tales in the lives of children.
Traditional fairy tales have survived in diverse cultures over many generations because they contribute something important to the developing child. Just because they are little people doesn’t mean they have little feelings! Anyone who has witnessed a 2 year old having a tantrum will agree with this. It is inevitable that children will have to grapple with fears, anger, frustration and confusion. Traditional stories allow the child to deal with these feelings in symbolic form. The stories are populated by mysterious or scary beings – threatening adults such as wicked witches, evil step parents and ferocious giants, not to mention the nameless monsters that lurk in every dark corner.