Some books are just pure magic from beginning to end, and Andrew Henry’s Meadow is one of them.
Traditional fairy tales tend to portray the female protagonists as helpless damsels who wait to be rescued by their designated princes (see: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, etc.), and while there’s nothing wrong with the romantic idea of happily ever after, which does work out just fine for some people, the danger comes when girls — and worse, boys — grow up subscribing to the narrow confines of these gender stereotypes. Which brings us to the importance of kids being exposed to alternative fairy tales, with characters who are unafraid of breaking the mould.
When the author/illustrator of the picture book in question is a two-time Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, you kinda expect the illustrations inside to ‘tell the story’, so to speak. And true enough, in Steve Breen’s debut children’s book, Stick, the cliche that a picture speaks a thousand words holds true, so much so that the few sentences scattered throughout more than suffice to tell the story.
Pouch! is a sweet and gently encouraging book about a baby kangaroo who is curious about the world but who is also terrified of the new creatures he meets, never straying too far away from his mama’s pouch — that is, until he meets a special friend and learns that there’s no need to be afraid: a good message for children.