Some Boys by Nelly Thomas
Illustrated by Sarah Dunk
Publisher: Some Kids’ Books 2018
(in conjunction with Piccolo Nero)
Age range 0-7
Reviewed by Cath Young
Some Boys by Nelly Thomas is a brief manifesto which challenges the gender stereotypes for boys and encourages them to express themselves however they want to out in the world. It is fast paced and fun. Repetition within the text recalls childhood chants, culminating in the very affirming position of “All kids can be whoever they want!” It tackles the way boys look, what they wear, how they do their hair, what toys they play with and what emotions they express. It affirms all ways of being by comparing the different way boys may present themselves or behave. As such boys are presented equally positively whether they wear shirts or skirts, play with dolls or diggers, are gentle or rough, or are sad or mad. The book also briefly embraces the complexity of the human experience by announcing that lots of boys are, “Sad, mad, shy, funny, nice and naughty all at the same time!”
The full-page illustrations are bright, simplified drawings of children at play. Children from a variety of racial backgrounds are depicted in the illustrations. The illustrations are also positively inclusive of both able-bodied children and children with a disability or illness, for example one scene shows a boy in a wheelchair playing basketball, and another a boy with an oxygen tube baking a cake. The font forms part of the vehicle for communication about difference. Specific words are highlighted through size and colour and add meaning and energy to the page.