Baby book review: My Feminist ABCs by Irene Pizzolante

Marian reads My Feminist AbcsBaby librarian Marian’s review

My Feminist ABCs is the perfect size for my hands, so I take it away from Mommy a lot while she’s reading, and read it to her instead. I read differently than Mommy though. I like to keep my mouth closed and grumble. It’s my special reading voice. I only use it when I’m reading. Mommy is always loud and theatrical, which is great, but not my way of reading.

These ABCs must be important. We have a lot of books all about the ABCs, and they’re all different, so I’m not sure I see the connection yet. But I’m sure it will all make sense someday. Especially with all these books around to teach me. Mommy says this book is like A is for Activist and C is for Community, but I don’t see how that can be. The pictures are all different. The Feminist ABCs have bright colors and I can clearly make out all the children and objects to grab. But the pictures in A is for Activist and C is for Community are completely different — dark, swirly pictures. I like them all. And they’re all good to eat.

Margaret’s review

I squealed when I saw this in the board book bins at the library. I had just seen a review of the book, so I was very pleased to find a copy. While Marian doesn’t see the connection between this board book and the A is for Activist series, the connection is clear to parents trying to find diverse and progressive books for their little ones.

I like the diversity in this book, and I liked how some of the letters worked around a theme:”J is for Jane Austen, K is for (Frida) Kahlo, Two artists that dared to be different.” Some pages may be a little confusing to those just learning their ABCs because, like the example above, the first word won’t begin with the letter. But it’s probably fine, and it may even be good for a toddler/preschooler who has just learned their ABCs to find each letter on the page.

Page from My Feminist ABCsI took issue with one image: “Y is for You can do it.” The words are fine. The image (as pictured) shows a mom carrying a baby with a briefcase. What this image in combination with the words implies is “You can do it ALL,” as in, women can do everything at the same time. As a feminist and a human being that wants to preserve her sanity, women cannot and should not be expected to do it all: Raise babies while having successful careers; keep the house clean and cook from scratch meals; make sure her makeup is on and hair perfect. Just, no. I do not want to teach my daughter that she can do it ALL. Yes, she can do it. The words on the page are fine. It’s just the image that annoys me, because it presents an unrealistic expectation. Feminists also need to have good support systems and ask for help sometimes.

All that aside, it’s a good little board book.

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