Rabbit Run

August 17, 2017 | 1

“[C]hildren often prefer the factual over the fantastical. And a growing body of work suggests that when it comes to storybooks, they also learn better from stories that are realistic. For example, preschool-aged children are more likely to learn new facts about animals when the animals are portrayed realistically as opposed to anthropomorphically.” Two new studies suggest that where learning is concerned, realism trumps fantasy in children’s books. Which is as good a time as any to ask our own Jacob Lambert‘s question: Are picture books leading our children astray?

is social media editor at The Millions. She lives in Brooklyn where she's currently working on her first novel. Find her online @kirstinbutler, and of course, on The Millions‘ feeds.

One comment:

  1. ….ok but isn’t this “learn new facts about animals when the animals are portrayed” a sort of syllogism? Facts in the context of what the study purports appear to be of the strictly scientific (aka realist) variety. Realistically, none of the animals in the children’s book would speak thus any fable-type children’s book, strictly adhering to the logic of the argument, would devolve into a textfree, photorealistic portrayal of animals. To be fair, it seems highly implausible that such a children’s book [though the term naturalistic wildlife photo-story would seem more apt] would be able to convey any sort of moral content characteristic of primary socialization. In other words, while children’s zoological, biological and even botanical knowledge might experience an uptick, they would be deprived of the very cultural essence of what fables are about. …which in turn seems very much in line w the neolib ideal of producing technocratic factoid-mongers….

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