Annie Stories

Doris Brett, Author, Stella Chess, Foreword by Workman Publishing $5.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-89480-528-8
Australian psychologist and poet Brett presents parents with a technique to help children work through problems or crises. When Brett's shy three-year-old, Amantha, revealed fears of attending nursery school, Brett constructed a lively, positive tale about her alter ego Annie's first day at school. Amantha's identification with Annie's fictional experiences bolstered the child's confidence and helped allay her anxieties. Brett later taught this method and found it beneficial and comforting to parents as well as children: ""From a position of not knowing what to do or how to talk to their distressed child, they are able to do something which is simple, natural, comforting, and therapeutic.'' The stories Brett provides here incorporate specific behavioral techniques, such as systematic desensitization and covert modeling, and treat common childhood phobias and worriesnightmares, divorce, death, attending school, a new baby in the family, hospitalization. She explains how parents can personalize and modify the tales to fit particular circumstances, eventually creating new Annie stories. In addition to many explanatory footnotes, Brett's introductory material provides a broad overview, relating Annie stories to influential studies and Bruno Bettelheim's analysis of fairy tales. Many parents, especially those insecure about their own storytelling skills, will find Brett's method effective and valuable. Others may simply rejoice at her effort to revive an oral tradition amid today's onslaught of television and videogames. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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