“Not All Men Are Sly Foxes” Critical Response

In “Not All Men Are Sly Foxes,” which appeared in the Newsweek in 1992, Amin A. Brott asserts that, most popular contemporary picture books have not given a fair idea of stereotypes.

He insists that, most of these books describe mothers as the only real parents who take important family roles such as bringing up and taking care of children, while fathers as parents who take secondary roles, for example, going to work hence, their tendency of arriving home late. Because of these, he warns that, chances of children forming the characters of the described fathers in the books are high, as most of them love reading such books.

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The author’s assertions about the influences of these children’s books are right, as most of them do not give a fair idea of stereotypes. Therefore, these books can give children a false notion of parent’s roles, as most children who read these fairy tale books are of a younger age hence, tend to copy what others say or do.

Although children do not necessarily remember all their childhood experiences, unconsciously most learnt knowledge in one’s childhood has immense effects on later life stages. For example, from my personal experience, the idea that skirts should be worn by girls and pants by boys, is an idea that people implicated in me in my childhood. Although this might be the case, presently, such an idea is questionable.

However, although such held notions are questionable, currently, still most picture books show girls wearing pink skirts instead of blue pants. Actually, it is true I feel weird when I see a man wearing a skirt, because of the experiences that I learnt in my childhood. This is a clear indication of the significance of what children see and learn in their childhood.

According to “Not all Men are Sly Foxes,” the author states that, “ the librarian gave me a list of the twenty most popular contemporary picture books… four portrayed fathers as less loving and caring as mothers…six of the remaining nine books mentioned or portrayed mothers as the only parent” (Para 6). The author goes further to explain that, it is only three books in the entire list that gave an unbiased image of fathers and mothers.

It is clear here that, in the entire list of twenty books, it is only three books, which present the correct image of what children can copy, as these books play a crucial role of shaping children’s personalities. Therefore, for books to have a fair idea of stereotypes, it is important for authors of any books to be careful when presenting different images of parents’ roles. Another example of a book, which the author states has a biased presentation of parents, is the Mother Goose and the Sly Fox .

Although this is one of his daughter’s favorite books, as the author states, “The story is funny and the illustrations are marvelous, but the unwritten message is that women take better care of their kids, while men have nothing else to do but hunt down and kill innocent and law-abiding geese” (Par 4).

Considering the fact that, individuals tend to apply all learnt concepts in any life scenario; likelihoods of these books implicating in children wrong ideas of stereotypes are high. To prevent such cases from occurring, it is important for parents to control what their children read and be careful when buying books for their children. Consequently, the writer gives very important information of the nature of implications fairy tale books can have on children, primarily as concerns wrong stereotypes about parents.


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