Children and their magical thinking. David Mackintosh brilliantly observes how children use imagination for personal development and as a utensil of their aspirations

David Mackintosh, Lucky

Published 2014 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

elephant
@David Mackintosh

Imagination is one of the most powerful tools children have when dealing with reality, when trying to understand it and also during the process of including themselves in it. In order to be successful, they make suppositions or create contexts and everything that is new stimulates their creativity.

Lucky is a very funny story about two boys whose mother tells them that they are going to have a surprise for dinner. So, the two spend the whole day thinking of what the surprise can be. With very good subtlety David Mackintosh shows the different perspectives children and grown-ups have when referring to reality (or fantasy).

Leo and his brother confer sensational, almost unrealistic qualities to their surprise:

Maybe it’s tickets to the Amazing Yo-Yo Super Show.

Maybe it’s a brand new car! My brother thinks our old one smells funny.

Maybe we’re getting a swimming pool in the backyard.

And the list continues until they find the most convenient solution and conclude:

Hey! I bet we’re going to Hawaii for two weeks: all expenses paid!

hawaii
@David Mackintosh

Soon they start to spread the news. The teacher knows now that the boys will miss school for two weeks and the Head Teacher congratulates them for being the first ones in the school history to have won a holiday.

Going back home, just before packing their things for Hawaii, the boys zealously want to tell their revelation when the mother is happy to announce the surprise pizza for dinner.

I don’t feel very hungry so I go to my room for a while… What will I tell Miss Stamp [the teacher] tomorrow?

disappointed
@David Mackintosh

The initial enthusiasm will become disappointment when the boys understand that they were wrong but the parents will find an ingenious way to cheer them up.

There was a moment when the boys thought that the surprise couldn’t have had hyperbolic features but it didn’t last long as they needed to convince themselves that although improbable, the extraordinary surprise was still possible. So fantasy is to be taken seriously as it is not only an impulse for making things happen but also develops morality.

Complement this book with a story on how children see ownership or with a hilarious situation that defines the concept of time for the little ones.

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