CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 8 . . . . October 24, 2014
Molly wants to know if she is pretty, but she doesn't understand what being pretty actually means. When she asks her mother if she is a pretty girl, her mother explains that being pretty is about being kind and thoughtful and about being a good, happy person. Her mother teaches her that being pretty has nothing to do with how she looks on the outside, and this explanation helps Molly to discover that she feels prettiest when she does nice things for others.
Margot L. Denommé wrote Mommy, Am I Pretty? as a way to open a dialogue between parents or caregivers and little girls about what truly makes a person beautiful. The goal of this story is a simple one: to teach girls that beauty comes from within, and that being pretty is about being a good, honest person who includes others, does thoughtful things, and tries to make the world a better place. This is a sweet story about seeing beauty from a different perspective, and in a society in which girls are often praised for being pretty from infancy, the message that truly being pretty has nothing to do with outward appearance is a good one.
The illustrations of this book were completed by Denommé's two young daughters, Madison and Brooke. The images, which are appropriately childlike, offer colourful depictions of the ideas shared by Molly's mother.
While this book may not be ideal for all classroom settings, as its clear intention is to be shared with little girls and would be better explored one-on-one to actively encourage discussion with a child, for its target audience, Mommy, Am I Pretty? is a successful story. It carries a simple message and encourages an important dialogue between adults and children about what it truly means to be a pretty person.
Meredith Cleversey is a librarian in Cambridge, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.
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