Speaking of children's literature and encouraging children to read, I recently came across this book while shopping for a birthday present for my cousin/niece (my cousin's daughter--would that make her my first-cousin-once-removed or my second cousin?) because I am absolutely determined to be that aunt/first-cousin-once-removed/second cousin who gives nothing but books and hugs. (Although I did end up also getting her a stuffed Curious George, but that's a character from a book, so I'm saying it counts.)
Regardless, I found this book and immediately fell in love with it. I Like Myself, by Karen Beaumont and David Catrow, is fabulous. I cannot emphasize how much I adore this book. I spent the better part of a half an hour looking for something that would appeal to a little girl while not being about fairy princesses or other stereotypically-useless characters, and I was so glad when I found this one. It's book that works to encourage self-esteem in kids, who are so prone to self-loathing and self-blame, and it gives them a way to express their emotions about themselves. What I like so much about it, though, is that it emphasizes that the "self" has little-to-nothing to do with physical appearance, but with who one is on the inside. (This is in direct contrast to the "fairy princess" books, all of which feature incredibly beautiful characters wearing incredibly beautiful dresses that made me feel like vomiting incredibly.)
The book is written in rhymed couplets, which, I believe, appeals to all children. (The book opens with, "I like myself! I'm glad I'm me. / There's no one else I'd rather be.") There is something about the combination of rhyme and rhythm that somehow ties straight into a child's central nervous system, which explains the everlasting-popularity of "Patty Cake." In addition, David Catrow's illustrations are adorable without being overly "cutesy," and they have a lot of interesting details that younger kids who aren't yet reading can focus on. Finally, I'm glad that the main character is African-American--there are enough books out there about white kids that it's a relief when I come across something slightly different.
I give this book an A++. If you have or know preschool-age children (the book is targeted for kids ages 3-7), get this book, whether you purchase it or borrow it from the library. Everyone deserves to like him or herself, and this will be one more thing we can do for our children. If you would like to order this book, here is the Amazon site for it: http://www.amazon.com/I-Like-Myself-Karen-Beaumont/dp/0152020136/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212677947&sr=1-1