Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Man's Work

I first saw this book a few weeks ago in the library and I was so taken with it I bought a copy for home on Amazon. In fact I bought several copies as I felt it was so good many of my friends deserved a copy too.

Man's Work (All in a Day) by Annie Kubler is a picture book with no words in which we see, over the course of a day, a dad and his child do what many people think of as 'women's work' - putting away toys, hoovering, ironing, cooking etc. I thought it was the ideal book for any child who mainly sees women do this work, be it their mum or a cleaner, to help them understand that actually this kind of task is not intrinsically something women do.

But as there are no words it relies on the person 'reading' the book to make up the story, so actually it becomes whatever you want it to be. Is the dad doing all this because the mum is away and it's a novelty to keep house? Or are they doing it as a surprise for mum? Perhaps it is a stay at home dad and this is the kind of thing he does every day? Or maybe he is the 'manny' rather than a dad and his job involves light cleaning duties? See, when you think about it it is as complex as Milton's Paradise Lost trying to justify the ways of God to men. Whatever your story though, I am sure that normalising men doing housework is an excellent thing.

Incidentally, another lovely picture book with no words is The Baby's Catalogue by Allan and Janet Ahlberg:

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