Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/430

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and memoirs of contemporaries, records of societies, pamphlets of the time, etc.

 

At the age when the child comes under the care of the teacher some of his mental faculties are already well advanced on the path of development. One must go back of this age in order to get a full understanding of the way in which his mind unfolds. Prof. Compayré goes back to the moment of birth,[1] and even quotes inferences of several observers as to the psychology of prenatal existence. There is a good deal of physiology in the chapter on the newborn child and in that on movements, the first forms of activity. From the pains that the author takes with fundamental considerations one would almost think he was a German instead of a Frenchman. He sums up the history of the child's motions as "irresistible, blind, fatal impulses at the start; then, little by little, conscious desires, thoughtless, but lit up by an intellectual representation, by the idea of an end to be attained; finally, will and efforts." The statement of the child's muscular needs given in this book ought to convince any reader of the cruelty of enforcing the command to "sit still" upon young children. Prof. Compayré next considers the development of sight, showing that the child is half blind at birth, and only gradually gains the full use of his eyes. The author (or translator) is rather too literal in interpreting photophobia as "fear" of light, and the same inaccuracy is observable in other writers on this subject. The newborn child has no real fear of light; the proper term is intolerance of light. The other senses are also rudimentary at birth, that of touch being best developed. In discussing the emotions our author affirms that the pleasures early exceed the pains in the child's experience. The natural modes of expressing the feelings can be readily observed in children, who do not restrain such manifestations. Prof. Compayré finds the first evidences of memory in the nursling's recognition of familiar faces. The acquirement of language, which itself depends upon a certain development of the memory, he regards as greatly quickening the further growth of this faculty. The imagination, consciousness, attention, and association of ideas are described in the two remaining chapters of this volume. The concluding part of the work will deal with reasoning, learning to talk, the development of the moral sense, and related topics.

 
 

GENERAL NOTICES.

This book will be the first complete illustrated botany published in this country.[2] Its aim is to represent and describe every species, from the ferns upward, mentioned as distinct by botanists and growing wild within the area adopted. It is intended, also, to complete the work within such moderate limits of size and cost as shall make it accessible to the public generally, so that it may serve as an independent handbook of our Northern flora, and as a work of general reference, or as an adjunct and supplement to the manuals of systematic botany in current use. The utility of a completely illustrated manual, both to the botanist and to the non-expert, is apparent. The most minute and accurate description may leave a doubt which the comparison of pictures of the species will solve. Persons who are not familiar with botanical terms and the methods of botan-


  1. The Intellectual and Moral Development of the Child. Part I. By Gabriel Compayré. International Education Series, vol. xxxv. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 298, 12mo. Price, $1.50.
  2. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada and the British Possessions. By Nathaniel Lord Britton, Ph. D., and Hon. Addison Brown. In 3 vols. Vol. I. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 612. Price, $6.