So, I was "reading" [b:The Boys|6949681|The Boys|Jeff Newman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347251386s/6949681.jpg|7183963] - the scare quotes indicate that this is a wordless picture book, not that I'm an obdurate illiterate - to my daughter, who is a very girlish kindergartner. The Boys
is a very sweet book, very thoughtfully quiet & smart, but my daughter nearly killed me when she said, "There aren't any girls in this. There is no one like me." Boy, but can she can do the shiny-eyed moppet thing like nobody's business. We all know that, of course, boys won't read books for girls, but girls will read books for boys, so therefore it's completely acceptable not to read girly stories. The gender imbalance in fiction starts way young
. You can pretend all you like that this doesn't matter, but it does. It matters because even non-literate shiny-eyed moppets can tell they are not being represented in fiction. So I spent some time digging out books about girls, with girls, for girls. (And for boys too, if you give them half a chance.)
Brownie and Pearl, a little girl and her cat, have been invited to a birthday party. Social situations can be scary though, so Brownie hesitates, not knowing if she can pluck the courage to knock on the door. Pearl slips right in through the cat-door though, so Brownie knocks, and is let in, and has so much fun at the party. The sparse words are just perfect for a little person just learning to read, which my girl is. The gentle invocation of real anxieties - I still have moments hesitating before I knock at my advanced age - and then just as gently showing that it will probably be alright was also perfect.
I'm probably not going to write reviews for the other girly fare we sampled - even though that's pretty lame of me - so I will just say that [b:Crafty Chloe|11985915|Crafty Chloe|Kelly DiPucchio|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1344400809s/11985915.jpg|16949551] and [b:Mostly Monsterly|7172048|Mostly Monsterly|Tammi Sauer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1277590349s/7172048.jpg|7591218] are both very sweet books that tackle girl-interactions and concerns. (And the boy really likes Crafty Chloe
as well, because of the donkey and the sly reference to [b:Freckle Juice|37738|Freckle Juice|Judy Blume|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1295888341s/37738.jpg|244031]. He just loves catching a hat tip.) There's a whole series of Brownie & Pearl books, and they are pretty uniformly good & worth a look if you've got a girl just learning to read. Or a boy, even. Getting anxious at the door is gender-neutral.