What are You Playing At?

What are You Playing At?

What are You Playing At?
Marie-Sabine Roger

Alanna Books

ISBN 9781907825026

Boys don't play with dollies - that would be silly! Girls can't play football - that would be ridiculous! Boys don't play skipping - that would be absurd! But the pictures tell a different story and show that in real life men and women do a whole range of things.

Librarian's Book choice

This picture book book has a very simple construction and few words but packs a very powerful punch. Although recommending it for Early Years I really think it should also have a place even in secondary libraries or in classroom discussions about gender stereotyping. After all, these young people are themselves the product of the past decade where gender-based marketing has run rampant and not least of all in books.

Each stunningly photographed page starts with a statement such as, 'Boys don't dance' or 'Girls do not play with cars' which is then challenged when you lift the flap.

Playtime for children of this age is all about role play and is a rehearsal and exploration of real life - so limiting their play limits what they can imagine is possible. Children understand this and these photos will encourage interesting discussions with each other and with adults, who have their own attitudes to overcome, about what boys and girls, men and women can do and become.

The book was published to coincide with Universal Children’s' Day and in an eloquent blog here (http://alannabooks.weebly.com/1/post/2013/11/celebrate-universal-childrens-day-with-alannas-provocative-new-title.html) the publisher explains why it is so important that we do not restrict children's play and thus limit their imaginations or aspirations.

Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian