Friday, September 24, 2021

Picture Book Review: Step by Step by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Diane Goode (2021)

Quick Booktalk

Inspirational text and lively illustrations encourage young readers to do big things a little at a time.

About the Illustrations 

Using the same style she employed to illustrate books such as the Cinderella Smith series and the Louise the Big Cheese picture books, Diane Goode lends a collection of cheerful figures to McGinty's affirming words. Boys and girls of varying skin tones (and one girl using a wheelchair) welcome an uncertain newcomer into their circle, modeling how they try each day to make a step toward their goals, whether they're working on counting, painting, building, or writing.  The background of each page is stark white, focusing all the attention on the attitudes and movements of the characters. 

Story Time Possibilities

I think the best place to read this book aloud is probably a classroom. It feels like a good positive way to kick off a school year and to encourage kids to try, and keep trying, until they are successful at whatever they wish to achieve. I do think there are story time themes and locations that might lend themselves to sharing a book like this. I used to do story time alongside a yoga instructor, for example, and I think in that context it would have been well-received. Similarly, if there is need of a book on the theme of confidence or perseverance or "growth mindset," this is a strong choice. The rhyme and rhythm work well, and the illustrations are spare enough that they can translate well from the front of a small room to the back. 

Readers Advisory

This book reminds me a bit of I Can Be Anything by Jerry Spinelli, but with a more realistic emphasis on putting in effort to learn new things rather than a hollow blanket pronouncement that anyone can be anything. I don't tend to love books whose sole purpose is to teach a lesson, but this one is a lot more appealing than most. The ideal age range for this book is probably 4 to 6 years. I will most likely give it to my almost-6-year-old to read to herself or to her sister who is almost 4. 


I received a finished copy of Step by Step from Paula Wiseman Books in exchange for an honest review.

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