Down syndrome kids can, at last, see children who look like them in a picture book.
With an overwhelming array of food choices available, many young children can be resistant to experimentation in their diet, preferring to stick with their tried-and-true favorites. In I Like Berries, Do You? Marjorie W. Pitzer delivers a simple but important message of the pleasures of food variety—a message particularly suited for families with Down syndrome children.
Children with Down syndrome don’t usually get to see kids like themselves in books, but I Like Berries, Do You? incorporates photographs of Down syndrome kids eating all kinds of different foods. Pitzer has published similar photograph board books, such as I Can, Can You? and My Up & Down & All Around Book, which also focus on children with Down syndrome. Pitzer is certainly qualified to deliver a book tailored to kids with developmental delays, having worked as an early intervention specialist with infants and toddlers for more than twenty years.
Each page of I Like Berries, Do You? features a child eating one type of food: yogurt, carrots, chicken, watermelon, broccoli, corn, blueberries, oranges, bananas, strawberries, cereal, meat, and even corn chips and popsicles. Pitzer isn’t trying to proclaim health benefits or anything else about the food she features; it’s much more about the photos of children actually eating (and enjoying) the food. The text is simple and repetitive:
“I like bananas! Do you?” and “I like cereal! Do you?”
This helps to keep the focus on the two changing elements—the food and the photographs. There are a couple of repeat appearances by children, but mostly there are new faces on every page, which helps children with Down syndrome to recognize that there are, in fact, many kids just like them. Pitzer’s photographs are clean and effective, and the book’s design offers a variety of background colors, a seemingly minor detail that nonetheless contributes to the book’s overall success.
As a simple board book introducing children to different foods, I Like Berries, Do You? has many competitors. It’s good enough to hold its own with others on the market, but for parents of children with Down syndrome, this book may fill a need that no other book does—a sense of recognition and inclusiveness that makes the food message much more effective.