Today’s book review is for Be Positive!, written by Cheri J. Meiners, illustrated by Elizabeth Allen, published by Free Spirit Publishing. I received an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Be Positive! is a part of the “Being the Best Me!” series, a collection of books created to help with character development in young children. This volume helps children to understand that they can choose to cultivate a positive attitude about life. By thinking and acting in optimistic ways, children are more likely to feel good about themselves and their lives.
Meiners writes the book primarily as a series of first person affirmations. Initially I was a little uncertain about the style. It reminded me a bit too much of Stuart Smalley. But then I remembered that I’m not the target audience for this book–and I think that for pre-school and early elementary-aged kids, the positive “I” statements are probably a great thing. Although the story follows the main character throughout the course of a day, there is no real story to the book, no plot.
Allen’s illustrations are generic but pleasant. They’re rendered in a soft, fuzzy cartoon style that is fairly popular in books for this age group. I do appreciate that they depict a diversity of people on the pages. The images that are depicted are well-chosen. Each one provides an example of how a child might apply the affirmations expressed in the text.
The book also includes four pages of extension activities at the end, so that caregivers and educators can reinforce the ideas expressed in the main text. There are discussion questions, vocabulary lists, activities and games to explore.
When I first read Be Positive! I felt a bit ambivalent about it, because I was reading it in the way that I usually read picture books. Once I shifted my mind-set from that of reading a story to one of reading a self-improvement guide, though, I liked it much better. Sometimes it’s important to remember that books serve a variety of purposes–even children’s books! With that in mind, it gets 4 out of 5 stars. I would especially recommend it to parents or educators who want to encourage strong character development in children.
You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.