What Are Little Girls Made Of? by Jeanne Willis

Cover image.

What Are Little Girls Made Of? by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Isabelle Follath (9781536217339)

This book of refreshed feminist nursery rhymes takes the classics and turns them into rhymes that inspire all children to not follow gender norms. Little Baby Bunting’s mother heads out to find a job so they can pay for college. Georgie Porgie is taught a lesson on consent. Jill repairs Jack’s scooter so he can keep going down the hill. Girls welcome spiders to their gardens and picnics. Throughout the book, girls and women appear as doctors, mechanics, and scientists. They are invariably confident and in control of situations. These rhymes are a far cry from the originals and long overdue.

Willis takes clever aim at each of these familiar nursery rhymes. She keeps their structure and rhymes in place for the most part, inserting the feminist twist without losing the connection to the original. Some of the rhymes change just a little while other become almost entirely new. This makes for interesting reading as one realizes how sexist and outdated the originals truly are.

Follath’s illustrations fill the pages with strong women and girls of all races. As written in the rhymes, the girls get messy, get wet, insist on being treated properly, and in general take charge of the pages. This is done with a merry sense of humor in the illustrations, ensuring that the tone remains light.

A great book for little feminists of all genders. Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Nosy Crow.

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