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Monday, June 27, 2016

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?

Welcome to Carole Roman Book Week! We all know I'm a big fan of Carole's children's books, and I happen to have quite a few of them on my coffee table, so I figured I would use this last, quiet week in June to review them all. 

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? Roman asks in this title. It's a legitimate question if you think about it. One of the issues with gender typing in children's books that I speak about often with my students is that they are very stereotypical. Looking past the overwhelming sea of pink on the cover, this book really delves deep into gender stereotypes and addresses them head on. 

A young girl asks her parent if she can be a firefighter. Why not, is the reply. You can be whatever you want to be, the parent says. That could be a chef or a judge, a firefighter or a princess, a dentist or a fairy. The world is your oyster. Every job requires work and skill, and whatever you want to be, you can. 

This is a lovely, short book for the younger set that doesn't require too much in the way of hefty reading but does provide enough meat for parents to read to their kids. I enjoyed the cast of characters that reflected the jobs that the little girls could be, including a cowpoke! How fun for those reading this book. At one point, the girl asks if she could be both, and her parent explains that she can be as many things as she wants to be -- and that's the message of the book. The illustrations were a bit of a departure for Roman in this book; they were done by Mateya Arkova, and they were a bit more whimsical than her usual books. The lines are a bit softer and the dresses are flowy-er. The girls in this book are ultra feminine, which I find to be an interesting departure from her other books. (Also, for the record, I would like that balcony in the early pages.)

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