CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 31. . . .April 17, 2015
A+ for Big Ben is a board book that follows preschooler Ben through one day of his life, the day that his older siblings receive their report cards. Ben’s older sister is in grade five and gets a report card with grades. Ben’s older brother is in grade three and gets a report card with comments. Ben is in preschool where there are no report cards, but he sure wishes he got one. In the rest of Ben’s day, there are many things that he is unable to do that the older kids can do, things like swimming or reading a menu at a restaurant. By the end of the day, Ben is feeling defeated and just wants to go to bed, but his siblings have a surprise for him. They’ve created a “little brother report card”, one just for Ben with his own grades and comments!
This sweet story will resonate with preschool age children, especially those children who have older siblings to compare themselves to and who often feel or are told that they are too young to do certain things. The activities in Ben’s day are common in the lives of many preschoolers and will feel familiar. It is important for Ben, and all preschool children, to be reminded that they have many gifts and talents to share with the world. With the affirmation that his siblings provide, by the end of A+ for Big Ben, Ben is feeling quite proud of all the things he is capable of doing and is no longer focussed on the things he cannot do. This story is a good reminder for older siblings and parents that it often does not take much investment to impact or change the course of a child’s day, especially at this age. Everyone wants to be a “big” kid and have a purpose in their day. Ben’s siblings recognize and acknowledge his desire to be just like them and in doing so help Ben to be proud of the things he can and does do well.
Carla Epp is a hospital librarian with the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.