Children and Play: Understanding Children's Worlds
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
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"Peter Smith is to be congratulated for producing the first truly comprehensive synthesis on the subject of juvenile play. The work's breadth and thoroughness make it the definitive reference, while the quality of the prose enables the book's use as a textbook. Smith's treatment of methodology and theoretical history is especially thorough and insightful.
Smith's unique contribution to play scholarship has been his identification of the play ethos. This social movement has had a distorting effect on research by inflating evidence for the value of play for children and of the necessity for parent-child play. In this volume, Smith almost surgically removes the play ethos cataract that obscures play scholarship. In doing so he reminds us that there are still many important questions regarding juvenile play which await serious research."
–Professor David F. Lancy, Anthropology, Utah State University, USA
"Peter Smith's book, Children and Play, is what one would expect from one of the leading figures in the field of play. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of evolutionary theory and the human developmental and comparative play literatures, Smith presents a comprehensive picture of the complexities of the place of play in human development as well as measured analyses of its place in schools. This book is a crowning achievement to his close to 40 years of careful study of the field. I learned a great deal from it."
–Professor Anthony D. Pellegrini, Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, USA
"This book is an excellent synthesis of what is currently known about the play of children. Peter Smith, one of the leading play researchers of our time, sheds new light on some long-debated issues such as the definition of play, play’s role in development and evolution, and the relationship between play and culture. In addition, individual chapters provide rich detail about particular types of play, including the much neglected category of physical play. The volume concludes with a very interesting discussion of practical issues, including parental involvement in play, play's role in education, the importance of school recess, and war play. I was very impressed with Professor Smith’s balanced, objective discussion of play research. He effectively argues for a “middle way” of viewing play, a view that neither idealizes nor denigrates its importance in the lives of children."
–Professor James Christie, Curriculum and Instruction, Arizona State University, USA