I’m pleased to share You Can, You Can!* (Infinity Publishers, 2011) with you today. Written by Dr. Lawrence P. Bestmann, this book is described as a “multipurpose motivational reader.” Bestmann’s background in physical education and gymnastics connects perfectly with this book about the power of movement.
Bestmann’s book emphasizes perseverance and movement, traits a lot of us are aiming for here in the new year! A uncoordinated boy named Binky is shunned by his friends. But all this changes when he meets Fred the Frog, who helps Binky learn how to move with confidence. Fred then introduces Binky to Coach Kanyoo, (notice that’s can you and you can backward!) an inspirational coach who encourages Binky to keep trying. Interactive in nature, the book includes photographs of Binky moving and points where kids can stop and do some rolls, jumps, and twists.
Here’s what I like about You Can, You Can!
(1) Many children will relate to Binky’s struggles. Bestmann does a good job expressing how hard it is to be the uncoordinated kid who is not selected to play in school games. Readers feel Binky’s frustrations and hope when he gains some confidence.
(2) The book acknowledges that we are all products of coaches in our lives. You Can, You Can! makes obvious the importance of people (or animals) who inspire us to improve our lives.
Here are a few criticisms of the book:
(1) I think the story would have been stronger with Fred the Frog as Binky’s coach. Whereas I appreciated Coach Kanyoo’s character, I felt his role overlapped too much with Fred’s. The narrative might have been tighter had Bestmann selected to include just one coach.
(2) The text is a bit wordy at times. There is lots of energy in the book’s language. There were times, however, when I wanted the narrative to be shorter and more concise. Younger readers might have appreciated this, too. The book has a wonderful narrative frame; I just think readers get too much narrative.
Let me know what you think of You Can, You Can! in the comments below! I’d also like to hear about some of your favorite motivational books for younger readers!
Rating: 3/5 stars
*Lawrence P. Bestmann sent me his book in return for an honest review on katiereviewsbooks.