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This is an extended review that emanated out of a reading club, which developed around this book as a result of pandemic restrictions and new possibilities. The approach was to reflect upon each chapter from the perspective of what Cook’s work adds to each of the participants’ own narrow fields. This process allowed the group to slowly and purposefully consider the complex and nuanced ways that childhoods are embedded in and contribute to consumer culture. Daniel Cook is an important figure in childhood studies. In perusing Cook’s vast publication record, there is evidence of his works forging pathways in the field and shaping theory connected with the economic, sociological, and cultural tensions of childhood. As the author of The Commodification of Childhood: The Children’s Clothing Industry and the Rise of the Child Consumer (2004, Duke University Press), Cook’s scholarship allowed for a reimagining of the consumer market surrounding the child. His latest book, The Moral Project of Childhood: Motherhood, Material Life, and Early Children’s Consumer Culture was released at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when so much that we assume to be natural and flowing in childhood, academia, and life in general came to a sudden halt.
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