Remember that old saying that boys are “made of snakes and snails and puppy-dog tails?” Well, that’s not true at all, and author Frank Murphy proves it in his new oversized picture book, A Boy Like You!
In this lovely book written for ages 4 to 8, an unknown narrator looks past the “billions and billions of people in the world” and speaks directly to YOU — the boy who happens to be reading the book. The narrator points out that the boy reading the book is one of a kind, and that the world needs a boy like him: a boy who plays fair, helps out,asks questions in classes, and uses his imagination when he plays.
The world needs an encouraging boy who says,‘Nice goal!’ or ‘Good try!’ when he plays sports with others. A boy gives his best try even when he’s afraid; who gives flowers to his mother, who answers questions in his classroom and who writes as many stories as he read.
This is a lovely and lively book tilts between gentle guidance and great expectations for the next generation in line to lead. Author Frank Murphy’s prose is sweet and encouraging, yet still masculine enough for rough-and-tumble boys who want to have fun…but who want to be gentlemen while they do it. Artist Kayla Harren’s illustrations are colorful and kid-friendly, and capture some quite memorable expressions, like the sweet little boy who hands his mother flowers; the teary-eyed little boy who has scraped his knee and wipes his runny nose as his mother dabs away the blood, and the fearful little boy who shivers on the diving board because he’s afraid to make the jump — and then the joy on his face when he hits the water and realizes that his jump was a success.
In this era of empowering women and girls to know their worth and expect the very best of themselves, it is our duty NOT to forget to do the same for our sweet, impressionable, I-want-to-do-well-too young boys. Use this book to discuss gender roles, citizenship, friendship, occupations, and getting to know oneself.
PS – a similar review appears on our sister site – https://picturebookdepot.com/2019/a-boy-like-you/