Monday, September 9, 2013

Print Media Monday: Chieu Anh Urban's Away We Go!

When we got this board book in the mail (the result of winning a giveaway at Brianna Sayre's blog) my daughter immediately picked it up. Nevermind that this book is supposed to be a gift for a friend's baby daughter, and nevermind that my daughter is seven, she loved it! According to her, "this book will help your baby become smart!" After looking through it myself, I completely agree!

Blast off! Wheeeeeee!

Let's start off by talking about design. The book itself is a sturdy board book, about seven inches wide and six inches long. It's big enough for chubby hands to hold, and not too small to get lost. The cut-outs of the shapes which appear on every page are great for little ones to enjoy sticking their hands into, or for mom or dad or babysitter to enjoy framing an eyeball with--perfect for distracting baby! The illustrations of different modes of transportation (school buses, rocket ships, and blimps) are bright and colorful, cleverly hiding the shapes which the little ones are supposed to find.

Although the book has many wonderful characteristics, the thing about it I love most is that it presents the subject of transportation as gender neutral. When we think of cars or trucks, we often think of little boys. This is also the case for the colors blue and pink--blue is for boys, pink is for girls. But somehow Urban's book manages to fly above all the gender stereotyping. A heart, which is normally associated with feminity and girls is the shape used for the propeller of the airplane, a mode of transportation adored by little boys everywhere. The background color for the illustration of the cement mixer is a deep red-violet, a color likely to appeal to girls. "Yes," this book seems to say, "cement mixers, race cars, bulldozers, and submarines are for everyone! Away we go!" Yes, Ms. Urban, they certainly are!

Grade for Back-to-School: A++! A fun way for your toddler to learn shapes, and also a book you won't get sick of reading ten million times thanks to the bold ilustrations and basically one word a page!

For more information about Chieu Anh Urban and Away We Go, visit her blog.


  1. Great breakdown of how Away We Go! is appealing to boys and girls together. I need to pick this one up for my kidlet.

    1. Most definitely get it! It's gorgeous! I haven't seen my friend yet, the one with a ten-month-old baby who is supposed to be getting this book, so this book is still in my house, and I'm afraid my daughter is getting attached...