A Progressive Coloring Book for Progressive Kids
by Liz Gumbinner
Cool Mom Picks
March 11, 2011
When the airport gift shop coloring book choices "for girls" range from princesses to uh, princesses (and maybe the occasional princess) I'm reminded of how easily twenty-first century gender stereotypes are reinforced pretty much everywhere we look. Well hooray for a coloring book that goes in the entirely opposite direction.
Or more like, runs in the opposite direction, wearing sneakers and a dress, Atalanta style.
The title alone, Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon, should give you a pretty good clue that this is not your ordinary coloring book. It's all about challenging traditional gender sterotypes.
Pages include illustrations and messages I love, like a man who wins a bake-off, a cowgirl riding a dinosaur, a girl building her own dollhouse, and a "beast" who likes "pretty things" like handbags and sparkly earrings. I especially love the co-ed tea party captioned "Tea, trains, and tiaras for everyone!" And there are quite a few kids depicted in wheelchairs throughout, which is pretty great.
But then, there are messages like Prince Charming searched high and low for the owner of the glass slipper . . . to find out where to get a pair in his size. Or a princess kissing a frog, thinking "I hope it's another princess." It happens to crack me up, and my own kids would like it. But I think honestly, the more ironic, edgy messages (like Prince Charming) will make some parents uncomfortable; not every parent has had the same-sex marriage or cross-dressing conversation with their kids yet, nor do all parents want to.
Now if you do want to, there happens to be a great conversation-starter page in the back featuring open-ended Socratic questions about gender. Because after this coloring book, I bet your kids will have quite a few.
Sometimes the Spoon is not a coloring book for every family. But if you think it's for yours, it's a fun way to get some good dialogue going and to remind kids that it's okay for boys to like EZ Bake ovens, and for girls to drive trucks.
Besides, you get to color in a cowgirl riding a dinosaur. Awesome.