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.

Clicking on the book cover will provide more information on the book. It is NOT an affiliate link; I earn nothing by you clicking on it.

Review: My Name Is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry

When my girls were little, one of my favorite "girl-power" books I liked to read to them -- and that they enjoyed having read to them -- was The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. It was an empowering tale of a princess and the superficial prince Ronald who snubbed her when she looked rather unprincess-like after saving his butt from the dragon. So she showed him ... and went off on her own to find happily ever after without him.

I often relied on books -- picture books and otherwise -- to help me get the message across to my daughters that they could be strong, independent women who knew how to grab life's big brass ring -- and that they didn't need a man to help them reach it.

Which is why it's too bad My Name Is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry wasn't around when my girls were young. It's exactly the type of book I would have loved sharing with them. Eventually (hopefully) I'll have granddaughters with whom I can share the empowering tale of Isabella and her journey as she pretends to be some of the most heroic women of our times: Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks and more -- including Isabella's very own mother. Ultimately Isabella realizes she possesses the best of all the women and that she has the power to be just as great as they were.

The story and illustrations show Isabella trying on the traits of each of the admirable women, while a "Women who changed the world" feature at the back of the book gives an in-depth profile of each.

My Name Is Not Isabella encourages little girls to dream big -- and to follow in the footsteps of the great women before them.

This is one review book I'll definitely be holding on to until those little granddaughters of mine show up. Then it'll be one of our favorites to read, I'm sure, as we dream together of the great things each can become.

For more information, click on the book cover above (which is NOT an affiliate link; it links to the publisher). Or watch this short video showing the progression of the charming illustrations in My Name Is Not Isabella.