Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Boys will be boys

When our daughters were babies, Jeff and I were determined to avoid all gender stereotypes. In other words, we dressed them in pink but also in a lot of blue and we bought them dolls but toy cars too. Jeff read box scores to the girls from the time they were born and took them to Knicks games when they were toddlers. We wanted to raise girls who knew they could be anyone they wanted to be without feeling restricted by any preconceptions. Can you imagine how hard we laughed when we gave a set of trains to one of our children and she immediately identified the mommy train and the baby train and then proceeded to play house with them?! Kids are funny and there must truly be some amount of hot-wiring that goes on behind the scenes. Many of our friends reported similar stories and lines always seemed to be drawn clearly between boys and girls in certain respects.

While my parenting experience has been limited to raising daughters, I grew up with 2 brothers and remember (often subconsciously shaking my head in amazement) how physical and competitive they could be. When I first took a look at Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld's Shark vs. Train, it brought me back. Now whenever I look at the cover, I could swear I see my brothers' faces planted on the shark and train images. It cracks me up every time. Shark and Train engage in one competition after another throughout the book. When the competition is in water, Shark is the clear winner but Train has him beat when he piles his cars on top of each other to stand straight and tall when they play basketball. Neither one is very good at sword fighting on a tightrope but., of course, no one wants wants to say uncle first. This book is an authentic depiction of little boys and a happy burst of energetic and satisfying entertainment for girls and boys alike. It also happens to be a contender for the 2011 K-2nd Grade Book of the Year. Remind your child that if he or she falls in love with this book the way many children will, they should take a little trip to and vote!


  1. Robin, I was delighted to see this -- Shark Vs. Train being a contender is terrific, of course, but I also love knowing how you're connecting with the book. Thanks for posting!

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