Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

October 29, 2018
Subheader: 

Let's try to understand each other a little bit more.

I think it's a great book, because it shows something that kids, like my four-year-old, would totally do. When he had a new pair of shoes, he walked into preschool telling everybody about them, even though we got there late and the teacher was talking to the other kids. He can't hold his enthusiasm inside, and that's an extremely common thing for kids. They have to learn respect for other people and their time, especially when others are trying to learn in a group context.

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Message: 

Making a mistake is not permanent. You can fix things that you did wrong. Or, when you're at school, you need to let the teacher talk without distracting the other children.

Who Has What?: All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies

October 27, 2018
Subheader: 

Doesn't tackle the hard questions.

It doesn't talk about, or even leave room for transgender or intersex people. It's really basic. It takes the entire book to basically only say: 'Girls have vaginas, ovaries, and uteruses, and boys have penises and sperm.' That's it. That is the only information you can get from this book.

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Message: 

Boys and girls have different bodies.

The Gruffalo

October 25, 2018
Subheader: 

Nobody's as gruff as a gruffalo.

As in most "trickster tales", it relies on the "tricked" characters being complete idiots. For me, this doesn't paint the trickster as clever or intelligent, just lucky and dishonest. If the mouse wasn't trying to save his own life, this would have a bad message, but as it is, it's just middle-of-the-road. It's perfectly reasonable to lie to somebody to save your own life.

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Message: 

People who try to hurt you are stupid, and will fall for obvious tricks.

Amazing You

October 23, 2018
Subheader: 

Not enough here to be useful.

It's not really helpful. It's just not useful to anybody having a complex discussion. I mean, yeah, preschoolers are going to understand it, but there's important things you need to be discussing with preschoolers in addition to this-- People not touching them inappropriately and similar ideas, because you need to really talk about that before it might happen.

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Message: 

Boys and girls have different bodies, and different parts of them are used in making babies somehow.

Jacob's New Dress

October 21, 2018
Subheader: 

100% terrific.

That is such an awesome, empowering ending! It's so realistic, because if you have somebody bothering you about that kind of thing, they're not going to magically transform their minds. Maybe in the future, Christopher will come to terms with it. Maybe he won't. But the important thing is that Jacob understands that it's not Christopher's choice what he wears. It's up to Jacob. It's his body, and his clothes. He's proud of the dress that he and his mother made together.

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Message: 

Anybody can wear any clothes that they want. Things are not reserved for people by gender.

Everyone Poops

October 19, 2018
Subheader: 

Surprisingly boring.

I am attempting to not encourage that sort of humor in my children. I'm not trying to discourage it, but I'm also trying to make sure that they're not ashamed of the fact that they poop. I guess if a child had a shameful association with defecation, maybe this would be a useful book to them. It's very factual.

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Message: 

Everyone poops.

How Babies are Made

October 17, 2018
Subheader: 

If it mentioned cesareans, it would be near perfect.

It's not a perfect book, but it's a great foundation. And the illustration style, where it can be very detailed in some parts of images, and quite abstract in others, works very well for the topic. It's a nice contrast to the weirdly cartoony images and metaphors of "Where Did I Come From?" There are no descriptions of how anything feels, just a factual recounting of events.

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Message: 

The basic details of human reproduction.

10,000 Dresses

October 15, 2018
Subheader: 

Good message, spotty execution.

It may be unfortunate that it needs to be more obvious, but I think that it's important that Laurel be explicitly recognized as somebody who is doing the right thing and not just kind of be assumed to be doing the right thing because she's at the end of the book.

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Message: 

Sometimes a person who has the body of a boy feels like she is a girl instead. Or, everyone should be accepted for who they are inside.

Introducing Teddy

October 13, 2018
Subheader: 

Good message, lackluster execution.

It's cute, but there's not a lot to it. I guess the subtitle, "A gentle story about gender and friendship," is a good description. Gentle, slow-paced, and brief.

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Message: 

It's okay to express the gender that you feel, even if that gender is not the way you externally appear.

Finding Santa: The Adventure of Greedy Elf

October 11, 2018
Subheader: 

Good try, but it needs more work.

I hope this doesn't discourage the author from being creative. She's clearly trying hard to make a labor of love, in contrast to the many books published by some publishing houses that just seem to be churned out with no care given to their quality. In our culture with our obsession with individuality and standing on our own, it can be hard to see that we need others' help, and it can be hard to let go of part of a creative vision and allow others to add input.

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Message: 

Elves can be mean, too.

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