Silvana Philippoussis, I Am Me, 2017, 40 pp., RRP $17.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780646979243
Aimed at the preschool child, I am me features colourful illustrations designed with a naïve simplicity, and sparse text, often including rhyme. This is a nice chunky board book with possibilities for immediate activity and potential for many discussions. The child can draw or paste in a picture of themselves within the first illustration, add their age on another page, and answer many other questions and suggestions throughout the book. The gender question, while saying “boy or girl”, and depicting the two stereotypically in the accompanying illustration, allows space for discussion with “I am more than what you see…”. On other pages the child can choose eye colour, favourite foods and future career aspirations, but as the pages turn the text veers more to a particular narrator (“I have a big heart. Did I mention I love art?”). It was not surprising then, to find that the book was originally written for one much loved child by his mother. More of a shock (as I had registered the author’s famous surname as a mere coincidence) was that it was written for the son of our own Mark Philippoussis. Silvana is a model, actress and budding artist.
Best suited to for interactions between an individual child and a loving carer, allowing writing and drawing in the book to personalise the experience. It is available from the Colourfulhand website.
Reviewed by Marita Thomson