Kidding Around: The Child in Film and Media is a collection of essays generated by a conference of the same title held at the University of the District of Columbia. The works gathered examine a variety of children's media, including texts produced for children (e.g., children's books, cartoons, animated films) as well as texts about children(e.g., feature-length films, literature, playground architecture, parenting guides). The primary goal of Kidding Around is to analyze and contextualize contested representations of childhood and children in various twentieth- and twenty-first-century media while accounting for the politics of these narratives. Each of the essays gathered offers a critical history of the very notion of childhood, at the same time as it analyzes exemplary children's texts from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These chapters depart from various methodological approaches (including psychoanalytic, sociological, ecological, and historical perspectives), offering the reader numerous productive approaches for analyzing the moments of cultural conflict and impasse found within the primary works studied.
Despite the fact that today children are one of the most coveted demographics in marketing and viewership, academic work on children's media, and children in media, is just beginning. Kidding Around assembles experts from this inchoate field, opening discussion to traditional and non-traditional children's texts.