Picks and Pans Review: Mister Rogers Talks with Parents

updated 07/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Fred Rogers and Barry Head

In contrast to the Children's Television Workshop programs, which at times seem too adult, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is never in the slightest way entertaining for grown-ups. This wonderful, accessible book, though, goes a long way toward making it clear how Rogers creates such a magical rapport—a loving relationship, really—with so many children. The language is, of course, refined many times over (Rogers, happily, uses his Land of Make Believe only for illustration purposes, not to instruct us). But his directness, fairness and compassion come across as powerfully to adult readers as they must to the children in his TV audience. He and Head, a Pittsburgh-based freelancer, discuss such subjects as children's play, disabilities (in both children and others), divorce and going to the hospital. It's clear that no one is more commonsensical than Rogers, and no one offers more insight about children. "I don't believe," he writes, "that children can develop in a healthy way unless they feel that they have value apart from anything that they own or any skill that they learn. They need to feel they enhance the life of someone else, that they are needed. Who, better than parents, can let them know that?" Thanks, Fred; we needed that. (Berkley, paper, $5.95)

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