________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 30. . . .April 6, 2018


Dear Girl,

Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Paris Rosenthal. Illustrated by Holly Hatam.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollinsCanada, 2017.
40 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
ISBN 978-0-06-242250-7.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Lonnie Freedman.

***1/2 /4



Dear Girl,
Keep that arm raised!
You have smart things to say!

Dear Girl,
There are no rules about what to wear
Or how to cut your hair.


Dear reader, when is the right time to tell your daughter that she is worthy of herself? When is the right time to tell your daughter she needs to listen to her brave side? When is the right time to tell your daughter that she shouldn’t be ashamed of wanting to cry? Dear Girl, not only explores these questions, it asks its reader to live through these mantras: be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry, meet people (un)like you, and there is no such thing as asking too many questions. Dear Girl, is a book trying to expand the role of junior picture books in our home storytimes.

     Dear reader, everyone should read this picture book in the lap of a loved one. Dear Girl, is a love letter written for girls by a mother and daughter pair. The book is decorated with Amy Rosenthal’s usual witticism as well as her daughter’s – Paris Rosenthal – edifying co authored maxims that provide hope and courage to define its reader as they so please. Dear Girl, contains mighty mantras that apply to us all, but the narrative specifically positions itself towards girls because of the lack of explicit voices in our literary imagination tailored for this young age group. Dear Girl, is trying to become a handbook for little women to lean on and build a habit of turning to literary women’s voices for reinvigorating courage. It mostly succeeds at this task.

     Dear reader, what if your reading audience does not identify as a girl though? I would push its audience beyond girls, especially at the age it is marketed for, because of the potentially limitless use of “girlhood”. Read Dear Girl, to all children so that they can identify their infinite possibilities at a young age – and, importantly, be able to identify with a girl’s unique struggle – so that they grow up knowing that everyone should have the freedom to choose how they can live their lives.

Highly Recommended.

Lonnie Freedman is a Youth Services Librarian at Vaughan (ON) Public Libraries.

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

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