My Name is Elizabeth – Annika Dunklee, ill. Matthew Forsythe

My Name is Elizabeth – Annika Dunklee, ill. Matthew Forsythe

Preschool to Grade 2  (Kids Can Press, 2011)

Elizabeth loves her name. She loves that it’s nine letters long. She loves the neat things her mouth does when she says it. She loves that there is a queen named after her. But, most of all, she loves that it’s her name to use however she chooses. And she does NOT choose to be called Lizzy, Liz, Beth or Betsy.

In 130 simple words, My Name Is Elizabeth shows Elizabeth standing up and telling the world politely, but straight-forwardly, exactly what her name means to her and what we may call her. As she’s explaining, she is independently dressing for school, flossing, leashing up her pet duck and growing increasingly frustrated as well-meaning people greet her with various nicknames. Elizabeth eventually plants herself atop a hill and announces “My NAME is ELIZABETH Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones!! But you may call me Elizabeth.” She speaks and is heard. Her wishes are respected so that, by the time she returns home, Elizabeth is happy to make an exception for the little brother who approaches her, questioning ‘Wizabef?’

Forsythe’s illustrations are wonderfully distilled down to integral elements and pair beautifully with Dunklee’s text. They convey action, message and a full range of emotion in deceptively simple two-toned drawings. The entire book takes a perfect approach to issues of negotiating one’s own identity and self-esteem. It is highly recommended as an addition to any library or classroom bookshelf – as long as an extra copy is also kept at home.

Review originally published in Canadian Children’s Book News, Winter 2012

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