Appealing illustrations and a multiracial cast give kids an opportunity to picture themselves in an array of career roles that run the gamut from A to Z.
Like the earlier ABC What Can She Be? (2018), this follow-up is designed to stimulate a child’s imagination and broaden their sense of the possibilities before them. The overall message is stated plainly on the cover: “Boys can be anything they want to be, from A to Z.” There’s a deliberate gender neutrality in the selection of career roles depicted even as the masculine pronoun is repeated over and over. “A is for Astronaut. He blasts into space to explore new worlds” is followed by “B is for Ballet Dancer. He gracefully dances with leaps and turns. He is so flexible and strong.” Other occupations presented include environmental engineer, fashion designer, jet pilot, karate instructor, nurse, quantum physicist, race car driver, yoga instructor, and xenobiologist (less obvious than X-ray technician, if a bit esoteric), to name a few. The artwork and lettering are brightly colored; the illustrations make each occupation look appealing and often exciting. The word “HE,” when it introduces each job description, appears in varying colorful letters suggestive of the rainbow pride flag, perhaps to underscore the book’s message of inclusivity. Caregivers of nonbinary kids will be hoping, however, for a forthcoming ABC What Can They Be?
This positive compendium of possibilities should encourage children to embrace their paths, wherever they lead. (Board book. 3-6)