Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: I Am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing)

Publish September 16, 2016

In Jan Thornhill’s latest non-fiction picture book, I Am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing), a young girl learns about how she fits into the natural world around her. Josephine starts by identifying herself as a human being, providing examples of other human beings, such as her baby brother. Then she asks readers to practice finding other human beings on a two-page spread showing people engaged in a wide variety of activities. The pattern continues as Josephine playfully works through several levels of classification. As the book ends, Josephine explains that although she belongs in all the categories she has mentioned, she is still unique because there is only one of her. With simple, cheerful illustrations and short, clear sentences, I Am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing) is a charming introduction to the concept of classification in the natural world. Repetition in the book’s structure and phrasing help readers understand the hierarchical structure of biological taxonomy. Lee’s pictures also provide lots of opportunity for further discussion. For example, an illustration of a lumberjack includes trees, which are living things, and stumps, which are no longer living. Josephine’s mother appears to be pregnant, adds another interesting possibility for conversation. I Am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing) is both informative and engaging, and readers will enjoy following along with Josephine as she explores what similarities she shares with all other living things.

I Am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing)

Jan Thornhill
Illustration EN: Jacqui Lee
Owlkids Books
ISBN 13: 978-1-77147-156-5

Roseanne Gauthier
Roseanne Gauthier

Roseanne Gauthier is the Youth Services Librarian for the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Public Library Service, and is PEI's 2017 award-winning 'Champion of Reading'. She has worked in the Faculties of Education at both the University of Prince Edward Island and Mount Saint Vincent University and spent two amazing years as the Children’s Librarian at the Confederation Centre Public Library. She holds an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and an MA from the University of Waterloo. Roseanne lives in Charlottetown, PEI with her husband, their adorable daughter, and two tuxedo cats.

The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.