One of the joys of reviewing books for me is receiving those that don’t get much mainstream press, and aren’t necessarily championed by bookshops and libraries. You Can Do It, Bert is a laugh-out loud picture book with a great message too. Minimalist in words and pictures, the book plays with its white space cleverly, placing its cartoon like drawings and text in the middle of a huge amount of space for more emphasis. It is a motivational book – for those embarking on a new adventure or trying something for the first time. The book begins with Bert (a bird) and explains that this is Bert’s big day. The reader assumes from the picture of Bert walking along a single straight branch to the edge that it is his day to start flying. His trepidation shows in his face (with incredibly simple line strokes) – it is as if he is walking the plank. Of course, like all of us, he procrastinates. Bert stops to eat a banana before taking the plunge – the comic timing is spot on – the resonance clear. Once Bert does actually go through with his task he shows grit and determination and, most importantly, has a solid friendship support group who cheer him on, and boost his confidence. Each vignette displays a different emotion from Bert – this is an exquisite display of how to tell narrative through pictures alone. By the end Bert is fulfilling his mission with enthusiasm. It’s a great little book – made me snort my own procrastinating banana whilst reading, and is one that could be a bedtime favourite or a storytime class option. Short and sweet, it packs a punch. You can buy a copy here.
With thanks to Gecko Press for the review copy