A motivational picture book by author Sarno-Doyle designed to teach kids about exploring their own abilities and hobbies.
Using the metaphor of an “inside shape” for the inner being, Sarno-Doyle aims to teach kids to weigh inner values over outer appearances. Written for very young children, the book is bright and full of lively images. In 30-some pages, the author explains the difference between “outside shape” (hair, clothes, ethnicity, etc.) and “inside shape,” the inner interests that children need to develop to become full-fledged, happy individuals. Many of the possible interests here are professional and educational—science, animal welfare, books, mathematics. The book also offers inspiration for kids to develop extracurricular activities, including sports and fishing. There are several open-ended prompts at the beginning of the book to get readers started: “I like to...” or “I don’t like to....” These questions are designed to help children explore their strengths and the skills they want to learn. Interestingly, the author doesn’t linger on the influence of “outside shapes,” such as gender or ethnicity, in shaping individual children’s personal identities, even in a positive manner (like Karen Katz’s The Colors of Us) that could help kids’ self-esteem if they feel externally judged or different from their classmates. The book’s abbreviated length, too, means that the range of topics is narrow. Charmingly illustrated by Jennings with old-fashioned images of children at play, the text will appeal to parents looking for inspiring books for their young children.
Fans of the Free To Be You And Me style of children’s literature will appreciate the inspiring message about developing children’s passions.