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YOU CAN BE by Elise Gravel


by Elise Gravel ; illustrated by Elise Gravel

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-943147-40-3
Publisher: The Innovation Press

This board book invites young readers to think about the many ways a child can be.

The message of embracing who you are is a popular one in contemporary children’s books; this latest offering comes in the form of humorous cartoonlike figures representing some of the many silly—and not so silly—ways a kid can feel, behave, interact, and so on—“(except mean or rude, of course).” Standing out from the white background, on each page a wacky and exaggerated cartoon is accompanied by a single word: “funny,” “sensitive,” “grumpy,” “smelly,” “caring,” etc. Each word is appropriately embellished to match its subject; “artsy” is rendered in fancy letters, and “dirty” drips small blobs of mud. Occasionally, the author adds some side comments that are sure to elicit giggles in young readers; for example on the “Smelly” page, a parenthetical “(sometimes)” keeps it light, along with speech bubbles that add “oops!” “sorry” and “toot!” But most importantly, the author concludes, just being “YOURSELF” is best. The children illustrated represent different skin and hair colors, though none have visible disabilities.

Adult readers and their young listeners will find this book best used as a conversation springboard.

(Board book. 4-6)