WHAT ARE LITTLE GIRLS MADE OF? NURSERY RHYMES FOR FEMINIST TIMES BY JEANNE WILLIS AND ISABELLE FOLLATH
As a teacher and Literacy Coach I was recently challenged by elementary students to take a look at gender stereotypes in children’s literature and so I was thrilled to see this book on display when shopping for new titles at a local bookstore. I promptly purchased it and gifted it to a middle school teacher who plans to use it with her students on Monday!
We all know the outdated role of women and young girls in need of rescuing in the traditional nursery rhymes. Little Miss Muffet is terribly afraid of spiders and the girls weep when Georgie Porgie kisses them. We love nursery rhymes because they are fun to chant, easy to remember and they make you laugh. Well, this new revamped collection of rhymes are fun to chant, easy to remember and will make you laugh as well as challenge your thinking about gender stereotypes. In Jeanne Willis’s version Miss Muffet sits down beside a giant spider and strokes their furry legs, and Georgie Porgie learns the meaning of consent before attempting to kiss girls. Doctors are female and girls can fix scooters, but it is not all girl power… All readers can feel empowered whilst enjoying these non-traditional rhymes as we learn that both boys and girls are made of “sun and rain and heart and brain”.
Isabelle Follath’s illustrations are bright and quirky and the perfect companion to these fun and enticing poems. A must have title for any classroom and teacher wishing to add fun as well as another perspective on gender stereotypes to their collection.