Goliath, The Boy Who Was Different – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Goliath, The Boy Who Was Different

Author and Illustrator: Ximo Abadia

 Publisher: Little Gestalten, 2019

Ages: 4-6

Themes: size, difference, individuality, boyhood, growing up

Opening:

I was big.

Synopsis:

A story about a boy who was a little too big for his boots … Goliath always knew he was special. He was big. He was brave. He was the strongest. He was different! Convinced that his home had nothing more to offer, Goliath headed out into the world to show everyone what he was really made of. But he didn’t look so brave when confronted with the sea and he didn’t look so big when stood next to the Sun. So what does being big and brave mean? And why was he determined to be that way … ?

Why I like this book:

Author/illustrator Ximo Abadía explores concepts of boyhood, physical difference, growing up, individuality, and the complexities we all face in search of our place. Abadía’s vibrant modernistic style and colors stood out as much as the edgy, philosophical message. The tall format adds a legitimate dimension (pun intended) to the tale. Goliath is a story that is poignant and empowering.

This is a great German press that publishes unusual books, which I almost always love.

Look at this amazing art!

Activities/resources:

The art is so extraordinary, I would ask my students to paint their own Goliaths.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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Introducing Teddy – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Introducing Teddy, a gentle story about gender and friendship

Author: Jessica Walton

Illustrator: Dougal MacPherson

 Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2016

Ages: 3-6

Themes: transgender, gender nonconforming, teddies, friendship, acceptance, lgbtqia+, gender roles, transgender issues

Opening:

Errol and Thomas the teddy play together every day. They ride their bike in the backyard. They plant vegetables in the garden. They have sandwiches for lunch in the tree house.

Synopsis:

One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can’t figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: 
‘In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl Teddy, not a boy Teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.’ And Errol says, ‘I don’t care if you’re a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.’

Why I like this book:

This very simple story is probably the youngest I have found that touches on a trans’ experience. It explores the fear of teddy that his friend Errol will no longer want to be friends with him if he tells him his secret. It explores pronouns, gender and naming people. And, just as importantly, it explores the no drama ways to respond to this whenever it comes up, and how so often young children have no qualms at all about accepting a gender change in a friend.

I particularly liked Ada, a friend who builds robots in her spare time, who also seemed to have some genderqueerness hinted at, although this was not explicit. 

Seeing Tilly ending up so happy at the end as she and Errol do the same things as they had at the start, only now with the acknowledgement that Tilly is a girl, was just heartwarming. Introducing Teddy” not only introduces this reality gently and accompanies the message by simply saying that being who you want to be is ok, and that true friends will love you for who you are no matter what, and with that going to a place that is beyond gender.

Sometimes simple is really better and all that is needed to deliver a powerful message.

Activities/resources:

This is a terrific conversation starter.

Download an adorable Introducing Teddy Poster from the publisher.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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Dumpster Dog – New Chapter Book Series from France

Title: Dumpster Dog (Chien Pourri in French) This is Book 1 in a new series called The Adventures of Dumpster Dog.

Author: Colas Gutman

Illustrator: Marc Boutavant

 Publisher: Enchanted Lion Press, 2019

Translated from French by: Claudia Bedrick & Allison M. Charette

Ages: 6-8

Themes: cats, dogs, friendship, humor, outcasts, animal suffering, rejection

Opening:

Dumpster Dog was born in a dumpy, old garbage can. There are many rumors about him: He might have been abandoned by his parents, he smells like sardines, and he can’t tell his right from his left…

Synopsis:

Dumpster Dog dreams of treats, balls, and leashes. He wants someone to play with, someone who will take him on long walks, someone who will feed him–he wants a master. So begins Dumpster Dog’s search for a human companion. But he will soon learn that finding a good master isn’t as easy as it sounds, and that the world can be a dangerous place.

Why I like this book:

I love the absurdist French humor, and the friendship between Dumspter Dog and the cat with whom he shares his garbage can, Flat Cat. It doesn’t have the happy ending one would expect for this age group as Dumpster Dog is really the anti-hero, flea-ridden, a little slow on the uptake, ugly but adorable.

Amidst the humor and endearing art by Marc Boutavant, it is a beautiful and sad story about animal suffering in our society: abandonment, vagrancy, rejection, human cruelty, lies… it packs some epic subject matter in its 47 pages. Truly you can tell this is a foreign import, which I love.

Love these end papers!
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