Review Blog

Nov 29 2018

It's not scribble to me by Kate Ritchie

cover image

Ill. by Jedda Robaard. Penguin Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780143790136
(Ages: 3-5) Themes: Drawing. Creativity. Rhyming books. The young bear pictured on the front cover talks directly to the reader: 'I have to say I'm not generally bad, but one thing I do makes my family mad... You see, Mum, that red is far from a smear, it's actually Santa, with a grin ear to ear'. This book is written from a parent point of view and is aimed at parents. It starts by identifying something that all parents struggle with (children drawing anywhere and everywhere) and then reminds them that those scribbles on the curtains, walls, windows (and sometimes a piece of paper) have meaning. The voice changes towards the end of the book and the little bear speaks to her parents: 'So please, Mum and Dad, the next time you start crying and wailing at my works of art... take a really deep breath and imagine you're me, then look a bit harder, I promise you'll see - it's not just a scribble...' It is then difficult to tell if the parent in the story or the reader is being addressed: 'So what about you? Could you sit next to me, and please draw me the magical things that you see?'
Yes, it's about how children create meaning through drawing (even if it isn't visible to adults) and how important it is to provide materials for expression. However, this is a written for parents (albeit it slightly belittles them) and isn't going to be particularly interesting for children. Also, we can encourage kids to draw without advocating for total house destruction.
Nicole Nelson

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