________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 10 . . . . January 11, 2008


Image: Deal With It From the Inside Out. (Deal With It).

Kat Mototsune. Illustrated by Ben Shannon.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2007.
32 pp., stapled pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-55028-994-7.

Subject Headings:
Conformity-Juvenile literature.
Peer pressure-Juvenile literature.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4


Think of the ideal body: the perfect picture of what a guy or girl should be. From the time we are very young, we play with toys, watch movies, and see pictures in books that tell us what a beautiful woman or a handsome man should look like. As we get older, those “perfect” bodies are everywhere- TV, magazines, the Internet, computer games, music videos. But how many people do you know in real life who actually look like that?


Part of the now 17-volume “Deal With It” series, designed to help young adolescents cope with conflicts and situations in their daily lives, Image provides kids with an understanding of the concepts and the skills dealt with by the book’s topic. All of the series’ books are identical in layout and will appeal to their intended audience, but in a limited setting- i.e. the books are more likely to be used by guidance counsellors working with individuals or specific groups of students rather than by the students, themselves, checking the books out of the library. The books’ contents consist of comic strips, quizzes, letters to a “Conflict Counsellor”, a double-page spread devoted to dispelling myths, do’s and don’ts, and tips on how to deal with the featured issues. “Did You Know” bands, running across the bottom of several pages, offer trivia and statistics. At the back of each book, lists of helplines, web sites, books and videos for further information are provided. The text is written in the “current” kids’ language, including some slang (this could become dated very quickly). Illustrations are basic and cartoon-like, but not very imaginative.
     The main theme of Image is being confident about oneself and not compromising one’s values to be a part of the crowd in action or word. Many people make assumptions about others by only looking at the person’s clothing or friends. This behaviour can lead to misunderstandings.  The book talks about image and the factors that can be controlled, such as music choice, hairstyle and clothing, and those factors which cannot, such as ethnic or racial background, age and body type. Misconceptions occur when teens sort and label people by groups (e.g. Goths, jocks and hippies), resulting in stereotyping and exclusion. Other topics covered in the book include the role of the media in image- convincing teens that, in order to be “cool,” they have to have the “right” cologne, sneakers, makeup and brand name clothing, and how television and music celebrities influence trends. The author also presents makeover scenarios which are designed to have readers think about whether or not the person is trying to be something that they’re not. Of all the series’ titles reviewed so far, this one has the most mature subject matter in that some of the examples given refer to gang affiliation, weapons and drugs.
     Generally, Image does a fairly convincing job of promoting being true to oneself rather than keeping up appearances.


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.