Review: My Name Is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry

Author Jennifer Fosberry has followed up her delightful, award-winning picture book My Name Is Not Isabella (see my review here) with a similarly themed book especially for little boys, titled My Name Is Not Alexander.

I was fortunate to have a review copy to share with Bubby during his recent visit. Together we read of Alexander, who pretended to be a slew of "men who changed the world." Alexander dreamed of being Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Chief Joseph, and more, all while Daddy shuffled him along through the activities of the day.

What I loved about the book: The variety of great men. Fosberry ventured out in her choices, writing not only of presidents and inventors, but an Indian chief, an athlete and even a dancer. The back pages detailing the historical figures serves as a good starting point for kids who want to learn more about each man featured. Also, Bubby and I especially enjoyed the colorful, whimsical illustrations by Mike Litwin. Here's an example of Litwin's work on the book:

What I didn't love so much: Two stereotypes are featured. The first is that grandmas are old, evidenced by the elderly granny dancing with Alexander/Fred Astaire, her room decked out with a gramophone, a granny-square afghan, and a wheelchair. Sure, it's cute, but I'm crossing my fingers that one day grandmas won't always be portrayed as old ladies. The second stereotype is the idea that all little boys have a "Daddy" they aspire to be. Unfortunately, many boys don't have a father in their lives, and upon reading or being read this picture book, that reality may be underscored and likely sadden kiddos considering their MIA role models.

Bottom line: My Name Is Not Alexander is a delightful picture book to share with little boys — and little girls — to introduce them to historical figures ... as long as one doesn't read too much into it.

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