________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 18. . . .January 20, 2017


Being Me. (A Rosie the Red Book).

Rosemary McCarney. Illustrated by Yvonne Cathcart.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2016.
24 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-927583-93-7.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Roxy Garstad.

** /4



Rosie felt important… useful…a little bigger…like she really mattered. I knew I could do something before I grew up, she thought.

When they were finished packing, Rosie and her dad helped load the food boxes onto a truck.

“Where is all this food going, Dad?” Rosie asked. “To children in other countries?”

“No, honey. There are hungry people all over the world – even here in our own town. These boxes are going to them.”


Being Me, the second book of the “Rosie the Red” series, reveals what a child could be thinking while hearing that enduring, almost clichéd, question from adults, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Rosie believes that the question, itself, implies that people only matter once they are adults; and, according to her, that’s just not right. When Rosie’s father hears her talking to herself, he suggests that they go for a walk to see if they can come up with a solution. While strolling through their neighbourhood, they come across a food bank. Inside, they discover that people of all ages – even children - are proving useful to society, are “being” something. A manager appears and asks if Rosie would like to find out what happens in the food bank, an event which leads to her volunteering at the centre and organizing a food drive at school. As a result, Rosie feels useful and concludes that children can “be” something before they are grown.

     Normally children’s books that tackle heavy issues, such as homelessness, bullying, or the hunger issue that is focused on in this book, form a crucial part of a children’s book collection. However, Being Me reads as so heavily educational, moralistic, and edifying that it becomes difficult and grating to read. Yes, children’s literature can – and, perhaps, should – have a didactic component, but when it is so obvious, the virtuous message(s) can be lost. Being Me is recommended for large public libraries only.


Roxy Garstad is the Collections Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

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

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