Review of the children's book I Knew You Could, by Craig Dorfman. Illustrated by Cristina Ong.
Toddler Reaction: "Train!" "Airpaaane!" "Truck!" "Carrr!" The deeper meaning of the story was lost on him, but that didn't surprise me a bit. This was aimed for an older child, although he still enjoyed it.
Mommy Reaction: Love it. It's cute, it's got a nice flow, and the message is fantastic. I wish I could quote the whole book to you, it was that great. I Knew You Could follows a train along his 'chosen track'. He goes through dark times, but they're temporary. Sometimes he wishes he was a car or a plane, but he reminds himself that he's a train, and that it's great to be a train.
The whole thing was a metaphor for life, and it totally worked. One of my favorite parts, was the "dark tunnels" part. This:
"You'll go through tunnels, surrounded by dark,
And you'll wish for a light or even a spark.
You might get scared or a little bit sad,
Wondering if maybe your track has gone bad.
So here's some advice to help ease your doubt:
The track you took in must also go out.
So steady yourself and just keep on going-
Before you know it, some light will be showing.
And then you'll be out, heading to a new place.
You'll be ready for the next tunnel you face."
See why I love this book? It doesn't tell you to be scared of monsters. It doesn't tell you that nothing will ever hurt you. It acknowledges the fact that life can be hard, unfair, difficult- but that you can make it through.
The whole thing has such a great balance to it. It talks about being and having friends, making your own choices, learning to love yourself for who you are, to express yourself and not be afraid, to not rush through life but take things slowly.... it's simply wonderful.
True, it's aimed at first graders. But my son enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and it's one we will read often. Buy it for any kid you know. ;-)
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