I really wanted to like the Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls coloring book from Soft Skull Press. Challenging gender norms? I’m all for it.
Sadly, this coloring book disappoints. If you want to use Girls Will Be Boys as a starting point for conversations with your kids about gender roles, then by all means buy it. The captions about genderless toys, bathroom signs, and gender diversity can serve as leaping off point for discussions tailored to your kid’s age.
But if you’re looking for something that sends a valuable message AND is fun to color, you’re out of luck here.
The unappealing illustrations have teeny-tiny coloring areas that younger scribblers with crayons will find impossible to fill in.
I also found the messages too heavy-handed and not entertaining enough for the supposed target audience of 4- to 8-year-olds. I get the feeling it was produced as a hipster product for adults wanting to demonstrate their cool factor, rather than a product focused on the needs of kids. One frustrated Amazon reviewer put it this way:
Why cant pc be WITTY? Why can’t gender awareness, oh, I don’t know, have some clever puns or rhymes?
Eyerolling aside, the kids — who would love a chance to color boy ballerinas and kick ass girls — were bored to death.
So I’m passing on this coloring book. It’s a great concept but falls flat on execution. What about you — will you buy it for your kids? If you already have it, how did your kids like it?