Imagine my enthusiasm as I came across The Smurfs – Brainy Smurf’s Sporty Day (a board book).
Three things drew me to this book:
1) Smurfs! Need I say more?
2)The ‘BIG flaps for small hands’ label.
3)The book is centred on a brainy character.
Number three is where things get messy. Anecdotally, there were too many words for a 9-month-old on which to concentrate, but that’s basically me wanting to read a book he’s not ready for yet. The real issue with this book is that (spoiler alert) no matter how hard brainy tries to achieve anything at all the various sports, he just can’t seem to succeed. In the end, he finds a place for himself as a referee.
I do understand the benefits of telling children they don’t need to be good at everything. I get that. What I don’t like is how pigeonholed these smurfs are. Why can’t brainy be good at a sport? I know, I know — that’s his name. Also, I refer to point one: they’re smurfs. But little people are so impressionable, and they are just becoming their special little selves. I don’t know, this just really irked me. Brainy tries everything and in the end, basically just goes back to being pre-sport-attempting brainy.
Also, the fact that his choice to take the referee’s position has marginalised him. Yes, I know I’m putting my academic hat on, but stick with me here. Whilst all the other smurfs are happy playing sports, brainy is in a different role. I guess the message I inferred was that if you are smart, you are different and you have a different role. Something about that seems off.
Still, the pictures are bright and fun, and the flaps are very flappable for little hands. If you don’t give a hoot about all that stuff above, then you can find the book here : http://www.fivemile.com.au/catalog/smurfs/brainy-smurfs-sporty-day-shaped-board-book-0.