Sunday, May 6

The OK Book

by Amy Krause Rosenthal &
Tom Lichtenfeld
Kook Productions/
HarperCollins 2007

1970's pop psychology took this long to filter down into picture books?

The letters OK are tilted to one side to represent a child who introduces us to all the things they are "okay" at. Despite making mistakes within the illustrations the text confidently declares that they are still okay:

An okay pancake flipper (though it lands on its head);

An okay kite flyer (while it's stuck in a tree);

An okay swimmer (sticking a cautious toe in the water at the edge of the shore);

"One day, I'll grow up and be really excellent at something...
...but I sure am having fun figuring it out."

It's difficult to take a self-esteem book to task for its earnestness, but a part of me feels that learning these sorts of lessons from books -- rather than through more effective approaches like parenting and example -- removes a certain layer of responsibility. It provides adults a false sense of fulfilled obligation, that by introducing the concept of being "okay for the time being" through a book absolves those adults from further interaction or reinforcement. Perhaps as a preschool tool for introducing children to the topic as a jumping-off point for discussion it's okay, though the repetition of the text could prove tedious.

But perfectly for okay parents who might need the reminders.

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