Check it out! A series of adorable children’s books featuring… can you believe it? A little girl who is not blond, or blue eyed, or super svelte and stylish, or bedecked head to toe in sparkly pink. She is just a sweet, brunette girl in her red shirt and purple skirt who adores her BLUE kangaroo.
Blond hair? Blue eyes? Bedecked in pink? Nope!
I stumbled on these at the library, and at first didn’t even realize that they were a series! But they are. The author, Emma Chichester Clark, has written several books all about blue kangaroo and his adventures and worries. “I Love You Blue Kangaroo,” was the first we found, and then several months later I stumbled across “Where Are You Blue Kangaroo?”, which I *thought* (in my super space cadet mommybrain) was the same book. But it’s not! Then I looked up the author and found there are several more Blue Kangaroo books listed, so now I’m on a mission to find them all.
These are sweet stories that are fun to read, and mellow enough for bedtime!
It’s kind of annoying to notice that the majority of these books I find at the library about non-stereotypical girls are out of print. Luckily, amazon has used copies of most of them! But really, I wonder what it says to our kids when little girls with brown hair wearing red shirts are getting replaced by an army of glittering pink children with silky blonde hair. Oh wait, I know what it says. Crap.
Well this sure doesn’t come as a surprise to any mom of girls who has looked for strong female leads in children’s books, but Science Daily is reporting on a study that shows that from 1900 to 2000 the gender disparity in books (heavily favoring males) did not change. Except to get worse in the 50’s. Great.
Why does this matter?
Since children’s books are a “dominant blueprint of shared cultural values, meanings, and expectations,” the authors say the disparity between male and female characters is sending children a message that “women and girls occupy a less important role in society than men or boys.” Books contribute to how children understand what is expected of women and men, and shape the way children will think about their own place in the world
On that note, I just found this really sweet book called Kiki’s Blankie at the local library. In this book Kiki is a little monkey who loves her blue blankie so much that she rescues it from a very scary situation. I was reading this to my daughter and some friends at the library and one little girl kept arguing with me that Kiki is a boy monkey. She is not obviously a girl (ie: long hair, bedecked in pink) so she MUST be a boy, right?
Super cute illustrations!
I saw this book and bought it on impulse, which I am *trying* not to do because we have literally a zillion or so books and I just am flatly unable to ever rehome books. They are BOOKS. We’ve been doing a lot at the library lately which is great! This one grabbed me at the bookstore though, with its subtitle of “Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?”
The one thing that bugged me when I picked it up is that it was shelved with the “boy” equivalent book, except the subtitle of the boy version is “Just how big can a little KID dream.” Girls are kids too! (I know, nitpicky, but I’m a nitpicky person dammit.)
The book has a really cute concept where a little girl pretends to be several different female heroines; Sally Ride, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie are a few of them. I love that, and I love how at the end of the book there is a quick paragraph about each of these amazing women and what they were famous for.
I don’t love that there is actually no *story* here. There is no real conflict or problem to be resolved; just a little girl pretending, so for me it gets a bit repetitive. Not repetitive in a lovely lyrical way that is fun to read, but repetitive in the… *yawwwwn* way.
To sum up, I’d say get this one from the library. I’m just bummed because I impulse-bought it. And paid full price. Hmph.