Please Touch: How to Stimulate Your Child's Creative Development by Susan Striker (Fireside Books/Simon & Schuster: $9.95 paperback).
Every now and then, someone produces a book that makes you want to turn back the clock: Oh, to have tolerated a messier house, to have read those Golden Books to my cuddly 18-month-old with more patience--and to have used some of Susan Striker's bold, quite ingenious ideas for raising a free-spirited child.
Art teacher and author of "The Anti-Coloring Book," which says "no" to staying within the lines, Striker seeks to enhance children's creativity through art, music, play activities and exercises in imagination. With passionate, almost manic intensity, she insists that children observe and appreciate the world's "light, air, water, hard, soft, day, night, language, movement, walking, eating, love." And, as she says, these are the merest "starters."
But before detailing how to make edible play dough (peanut butter and honey), how to encourage a child to wall and/or body paint, to scribble--an activity that seems to result in good handwriting--or how to conduct marvelous birthday parties, fair warning: Some of Striker's suggestions may appall a mother-in-law, infuriate a husband and certainly not sit well with the landlord.