Maya Gotz, Dafna Lemish, Amy Aidman, & Hyesung Moon (2005)

Media and the Make-Believe Worlds of Children: When Harry Potter Meets Pokemon in Disneyland. (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates). 229 + xiv pp. ISBN 0-88058-5192-5. $24.50 (paper). References, indices (child, media text, author, subject), illustrations, authors' backgrounds, CD.

This report-of an intensive cross-cultural study (United States, Germany, Israel and South Korea) of 193 children-should be of use to all those who are concerned with the changes that the media may be causing in recent (and future) generations of children. In the broad scheme of things, such considerations are ethical ones. As with other monographs, it starts with a theoretical introduction to children's fantasy worlds and the media, and continues on to methodology-how the researchers accessed children's make-believe worlds-and the findings and conclusions of the study. These findings are divided into "The worlds of make-believe," "The child in the make-believe world," and "Media traces in children's make-believe worlds." The two remaining chapters, discussing what the authors call their "central themes," involve gender and cultural traces in children's make-believe worlds. The book ends with a short conclusion-one that (together with the significant differences between cultures) makes this reader hope that we learn more in the future about the roles of myth and fantasy in the acculturation of children around the world.


The above article was published in Media Ethics, Spring 2006 (17:2),p.36.