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Children's Folklore

A Source Book

edited by Brian Sutton-Smith, Jay Mechling, Thomas W. Johnson, and Felicia R. McMahon

Paperback Price $30.95
Ebook Price $22.95

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"Above and beyond its appeal for folklorists in general, Children's Folklore is an indispensable introduction to its own subject. . . . This volume contains a wealth of guides and sources that will benefit any interested scholar."
Journal of American Folklore


A collection of original essays by scholars from a variety of fields—including American studies, folklore, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and education—Children's Folklore: A Source Book moves beyond traditional social-science views of child development. It reveals the complexity and artistry of interactions among children, challenging stereotypes of simple childhood innocence and conventional explanations of development that privilege sober and sensible adult outcomes. Instead, the play and lore of children is shown to be often disruptive, wayward, and irrational. The contributors variably consider and demonstrate "contextual" and "textual" ways of studying the folklore of children. Avoiding a narrow definition of the subject, they examine a variety of resources and approaches for studying, researching, and teaching it. These range from surveys of the history and literature of children's folklore to methods of field research, studies of genres of lore, and attempts to capture children's play and games.

Contributors: Simon J. Bronner, Gary Alan Fine, Sylvia Ann Grider, Linda A. Hughes, Thomas W. Johnson, Marilyn Jorgensen, John H. McDowell, Felicia R. MacMahon, Jay Mechling, Bernard Mergen, Ann Richman Beresin, Daniel M. Roemer, C.W. Sullivan III, Brian Sutton-Smith, Elizabeth Tucker, Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt


The late Brian Sutton-Smith wrote more than 50 books on games and children's play; children's drama, films, and narratives; and children's gender issues and sibling position. He taught at Bowling Green State University, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He founded the Children's Folklore Society.

Jay Mechling is professor emeritus of American Studies at the University of California-Davis. He won the 1998 Mary C. Turpie Prize from the American Studies Association and the 2006 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. He has served as the editor of Western Folklore and is the author of On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth (2001). 

Thomas W. Johnson is professor emeritus in the anthropology department of California State University, Chico.

Felicia R. McMahon is a senior research associate in anthropology, specializing in folklore, at Syracuse University's Campbell Public Affairs Institute. She was a Fulbright scholar in eastern Germany and is an elected board member and past president of the Fulbright Association Chapter of Central New York.

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  • Paperback Price: $30.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-280-8
  • Ebook Price: $22.95
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-357-7
  • Publication Year: 1999
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Brian Sutton-Smith, Jay Mechling, Thomas W. Johnson, and Felicia R. McMahon
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-280-8
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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