is, quite simply, sublime. I got some good-vibe goosebumps within the first
three or four double-paged spreads, and I’m seeing a lot of picture books these
‘When you’re a boy
you are told how to be
just like the white-roaring oceans.
But I’ve learned
the fierceness of flowers
the glory of colour
and the beauty of dreaming.’
seem fairly simple and harken back to a childhood when girls were told ‘Oh,
look at the pretty flowers and the sunset and the pink of the sky’ and boys
were told ‘Oh, look at that old dog. It’s… brown.’ In truth, the simple words
of this picture book speak a complex, unquantifiable mystery that reaches
directly into your heart.
touches on the inherent and often ingrained attitudes of society towards boys:
how they should be and act and speak and see the world. It reminds us that
sometimes in our lives, unspoken or outdated conventions become and remain, habit.
And it turns these conventions poetically, respectfully and majestically onto
their tousled heads.
There is so
much to love about this book: There are words that sweep across paint- strokes
that sweep across pages, in homage to clouds in the sky.
sunsets that are squished into the tiniest square inch of a page and yet seem
to take up the whole, entire book.
paint so thick you can feel and smell it. Paint strokes so bold that they might
still be wet or sticky on the page.
There are people that I want to grab onto with both hands and just hug tightly
to my chest for a very, very long time.
is an ending, of course. An ending so delicious that I just want to wrap it up
and hide it under my pillow to keep with me forever.
Title: When You’re A Boy
Publisher: Affirm Press, $24.99
Publication Date: 29 August 2023
For ages: 3 – 7
Type: Picture Book