Miniature Adults Compel the Growth of Children

Michael Groberman


A child is the boss of his or her toys, and may choose to play the role of parent, colonel, or god to these inanimate things that are smaller than he or she. He or she may take care of them or destroy them. But how does the child's experience change when the small object, the six-inch humanoid figure is not an inanimate toy but a living human being? This essay looks at several books that examine this situation, including The Borrowers, The Twelve and the Genii, Mistress Masham's Repose and The Indian in the Cupboard. In all of these cases the response of the child is one of emotional growth. Because they are different ages, the growth is not the same for each, but what they share is a development over time of increased sense of responsibility, attempts to understand what that means, some trials and failures, and ultimately maturation.

Full Text:


The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680