Janovitz, Marilyn. Can I Help? Book Review.

Click here to buy Can I Help?

The two characters featured in this picture book are realistic looking dogs except for the fact that they behave like people. A parent is followed from task to task by his or her eager child. One of the nice things about this book is that it doesn’t disclose whether it is a father or mother being followed by a daughter or son. Any parent and child can relate to the story.

The adult mows, hoes, pulls weeds, plants, sweeps, and more. The child asks, “Can I help…” every time and the parent responds, “Yes, please help me…” Most of the time the child’s “help” causes problems for the adult but instead of shooing away the young child, the adult continually encourages his or her participation. The story ends with parent and child cuddling in a hammock.

This story is written in a comfortable rhyming style, a single sentence per page except in the summary of each section. An attentive child will soon memorize the words.

What a beautiful message! Children want to feel helpful and capable. They want to participate in our world. They want to emulate us. They need our encouragement, not our criticism. They grow and blossom when included.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


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