Review: Of Course They Do! by Marie-Sabine Roger

of course they do

Of Course They Do!: Boys and Girls Can Do Anything by Marie-Sabine Roger and Anne Sol

This very simple book filled with crisp photographs takes on gender stereotypes and proves them quickly wrong.  The book starts with things that boys don’t do, like “Boys don’t cook.”  Turn the page and the counter to the stereotype is given with a photograph of a chef and the words “Are you sure?”  The book then moves on to stereotypes about girls, like them not playing sports. 

The format is engaging and fresh.  Having the more traditional gender role on one page and then the correction on next works particularly well, since it gives children a chance to realize that they themselves may think some of these things.  I also like that the format asks questions on the pages where the stereotype is being disputed.  This too lets children have the ability to change their mind rather than be defensive about what they had been thinking. 

The illustrations are all photographs and are bright and clear.  Many of them are close ups of faces that prove the point that girls and boys can do so many things.  Throughout the book there is clear diversity as well.

Clear and intelligently designed, this book will be welcome for units about gender.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry

turtle island

Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry

The author of I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean returns with a picture book all about friendship.  Turtle is very big but Turtle is also all alone and getting lonely.  Then one day, a ship wrecked near him and he rescued a bear, an owl, a cat and a frog from the ocean waters.  They climbed aboard his shell and Turtle supplied them with fish to eat.  Happily, Owl could knit, Bear could build, Frog could cook, and Cat could draw.  The four quickly went to work and created a home aboard Turtle.  Turtle wasn’t lonely any more.  One might think the book would end there, but instead the four smaller animals got very homesick and missed their families.  They had to return home, leaving Turtle all alone in the big ocean again.  What is a big lonely turtle to do, especially now that he realizes the importance of having good friends?

Sherry has a way with simple storytelling.  He manages to convey complicated emotions using a combination of his storyline and his illustrations.  Here the impact of having friends is looked at with humor and through a unique relationship of a huge turtle and characters riding on his back.  It’s a very nice metaphor for needing to support friends in different ways.

As with all of Sherry’s books, his cartoony illustrations are child friendly and add to the humor.  They keep this story from becoming overly sweet, showing goggle-eyed animals in different colors and always clearly showing that Turtle is simply huge.

Gently funny, simple and honest, this picture book is a friend to any story time on friendship or turtles.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.