________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 36. . . .May 26, 2017


You Are Three. (You Are; 3).

Sara O'Leary. Artwork by Karen Klassen.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2017.
24 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-074-2.

Preschool / Ages 2-4.

Review by Michelle Superle.

** /4



You are three,
and everything is changing so quickly.
But what will never, ever change
is our love for you.


You Are Three by Sara O’Leary completes the series that began with You Are One and continued with You Are Two. This resounding finale retains all the elements that made its predecessors so successful: the inviting second person narration, the familiar narrative structure and repeating refrains, and the immediately recognizable daily activities that demonstrate toddlers’ accomplishments. Karen Klassen’s art is as charming as always. As with the first two books in the series, You Are Three is likely to appeal to babies, toddlers, and smitten family members.

      As delightful as You Are Three is, though, it also begins to seem overly prescriptive in ways that the earlier releases did not. The text’s declarative stateme nts creep towards imperatives: consider “Now that you are three, you love to say your ABCs” and “We have conversations now. You tell us all about your day and all the things you’ve done.” Such statements, framed in a universalizing second person address, suddenly seem too narrow given how diverse the developmental spectrum becomes by the time children are three-years-old. It’s possible that young readers whose skills and interests differ from those portrayed in the text may question their own abilities.

      Nevertheless, You Are Three would make a lovely gift—particularly as a birthday gift for children who enjoyed You Are One and You Are Two.


Michelle Superle is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley where she teaches children’s literature and creative writing courses. She has served twice as a judge for the TD Award for Canadian Children’s Literature and is the author of Black Dog, Dream Dog and Contemporary, English-language Indian Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2011).

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

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