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Tiffani Reynolds
Dr. Sanders
Advanced Composition
18 November 2014
Male Portrayal throughout Childrens Books
Throughout Armin Brotts article, Not All Men Are Sly Foxes, he states the inequalities
implied in childrens books about the roles of the female and male parenting. However, he
greatly extends his point about how erroneous it is for women to occur in childrens books more
often than men, as if the fathers simply do not care about their child. Brott states, thanks to men
abandoning their families, theres too many single mothers, yet, wonders why fathers never
show importance in childrens books; which is controversial. Brott views the story, Mother
Goose and the Sly Fox, as the mother goose a very successful single mother, and the fox as a
neglectful, unemployed single father, but in reality, male foxes are supposed to hunt food for
their pups; female geese lead their goslings to learn how to live. Armin Brott betrayed his own
gender by describing the fox as grimy and presumably unemployed; which is also
controversial with his prolonged thought. Childrens books do not necessarily portray the
common household, they tell stories that may relate to the traditional household operation in
which the father is working frequently to provide for his family, and the mother is a stay home
mother that cares for the children. Stories do not describe how life is supposed to operate, they
simply teach a lesson for the developing mind of a childs education. A child will learn each
parents role by how they are raised; if the parents both share equal responsibilities, the child will
adapt and conclude that parents are supposed to perform the same, equal tasks. If the parents

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were traditional, the father would work, as the mother would stay home to care for the children;
or vice versa. In regard to how the child is raised, most children will not comprehend the thought
of the father being absent, or hardly mentioned throughout the books they read.
In the 1989 childrens book, Mother Goose and the Sly Fox, Brott interprets that the
single Mother Goose is a very successful mother with seven goslings, who is able to find time to
serve her goslings, while the fox is a single father of his pups who seems to care less about his
pups. Brott states that the storys unwritten message is women take better care of their kids
and men have nothing else to do but hunt down and kill innocent, law-abiding geese. However,
fathers are supposed to provide food for their children because most fathers have paying jobs in
order to do so; this portrays the foxs role in Mother Goose and the Sly Fox, in which the fox is
hunting down the goslings to feed his pups. The typical parents role in the 1980s were more
traditional; mothers stayed at home to care for her children, while the fathers were working
because at the time, people did not need both incomes to live, as opposed to todays society
where both parents are practically required to work in order to maintain a stable household
(Reynolds). Brott fails to perceive that most fathers were probably working as the story was
being read; therefore, he prolongs his argument by making it appear that because fathers are
rarely mentioned in childrens books, it concludes as if fathers neglect their children because
they are careless.
In I Just Forgot, The Little Critter lists all the things he needs to remember to make it
through the day. I got ready for school. I even got to the school bus on time. But I forgot my
lunch. Mom brought it to school for me (Mayer). Throughout the story, The Little Critters
mother is helping him along his day. When dad came home from work, I was supposed to get
his paper. I didnt forget the puppy got it first (Mayer). I Just Forgot was published in 1988, and

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as Reynolds stated, the role of parents during the 1980s were more traditional than they are in
todays society. Armin Brott again, failed to perceive that fathers are most likely working as a
childrens book is being read due to I Just Forgot; which directly states that The Little Critters
father returned home from work. In Arthurs Pet Business, Arthur desperately wanted a puppy,
and he would do anything to prove to his parents that he was responsible enough to have a
puppy; therefore, he decided to start a pet business to prove to his mom and dad he was
responsible. His family- including his father- helped Arthur develop flyers to place around town
to promote his business; in result, the word got around, and Arthur was caring for not only a
neighbors dog, but various types of different animals to prove he was capable in caring for a
puppy. With the extreme chaos of caring for various animals, Arthur proved he was responsible,
and earned a puppy in return. Arthur and Francine put up signs to advertise his new business.
His family helped, too (Brown). The pictures provided with the quote are Arthur and his friend,
Francine, carrying a sign, Arthurs mother placing a sign on a tree, and his father placing a
banner in the rear window of his car to help promote Arthurs pet business. Arthurs father not
only helps promote Arthurs business, but he also: vacuums the house, keeps an eye on the kids,
feeds the baby as he shares laughter and memories with his family, and make sure everything
was in place around the house. In this scenario, Brotts conclusion about the parents roles- the
mother staying home to nurture, and the father to appear neglectful- is clearly mistaken because
both of Arthurs parents appear to share equal roles in Arthurs Pet Business.
In I Just Forgot, the Little Critters father arrived home from a long day at work to relax
on his large, green cushioned living room chair to read the mornings newspaper. The Little
Critters father is a grown, male hedgehog who is dressed in a blue, button-up collared shirt
matching with a pair of gray work pants to complete the appropriate work attire. As his father

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rests in his chair with his elbow propped up on his leg, he has a look of disappointment towards
his son for forgetting to bring his newspaper in for the day because the puppy brought it in
instead; which ended up torn and shredded. The emotion towards his son portrays aggravation
for not doing as he was told, which proves that his father will enforce obedience to shape his son
to become a responsible, well-mannered young man as time extends. In Arthurs Pet Business,
Arthurs father is frequently playing a role throughout the story. Arthurs father is a male
aardvark who constantly wears different varieties of green shirts matched with jean pants or
shorts. His father is frequently involved with everyday activities such as: eating dinner with his
family at the dining table, going to work to support his family, vacuuming the living room
(which Brott viewed as the mothers role in childrens books to clean as opposed to the fathers
who were indolent), keeping an eye on his children, assisting the young aardvark with eating
as he shares laughter with his family in the kitchen, he makes sure his children are being
obedient, and he holds the young aardvark in his arms as a form of love and protection.
The mother in I Just Forgot is continuously cleaning up after her son as he forgets
various tasks to do throughout the day. His mother is a female hedgehog who wears a long,
yellow dress with flower patterns all down the dress. Around the dress, she has a white apron that
ties around the waist, which can portray that she is a stay home mother. Throughout the book, the
Little Critters mother is constantly giving her son disappointed looks for forgetting to do tasks
such as: close the refrigerator door after retrieving what he needs from it, forgetting to take his
rain boots off after coming inside from playing in the rain, cleaning up his toys before bed, and
turning the water off from the tub. Not only does she become frustrated throughout the story, but
she also makes sure he has his lunch for school, sees his father when he returns home from work,
makes sure he bathes, and reads him bedtime stories every night to the Little Critter. In Arthurs

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Pet Business, Arthurs mother is a female aardvark who is dressed in either pink or yellow shirts
matched with jean shorts or skirts. Arthurs mother is not as involved with daily activities as
Arthurs father is, but she does take the young aardvark for walks around the neighborhood, she
talks to her children when they are feeling stressed, makes sure her children are behaving, and
she reads books as a form of relaxing. Each of the characters mothers in the two stories portray
love, discipline, and communication in order to provide love and care for their children to
support their children as much as possible in order to develop the definition of family and duties
of life in order to prepare them for a bright future.
Armin Brott stated that fathers are never mentioned or portrayed as loving fathers
throughout childrens books, but he must understand that fathers are not viewed as a neglectful
group of people; in todays society, they play equal roles under the parenting aspect. When dad
came home from work (Mayer). In the 1980s childrens books, fathers were never really
present throughout the story, but the roles of parenting were much different compared to now. In
the 1980s, the majority of women with children were stay home mothers to care for their
children, as men usually went to work every day because each household did not require both
parents to bring money in for their home. As childrens books progress into time, readers may
recognize that both parents are present throughout the story, and both parents are working similar
jobs; in todays society, most households need income from both parents in order to live. The
lack of presence fathers are mentioned in childrens books do not necessarily reflect negligence
to his children or how parents roles are supposed to be ran based on what children read.
Children should know in their hearts that their fathers love them just as much as their mothers
do regardless of how they are portrayed in the typical books they read.

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Works Cited
Brott, Armin. Not All Men are Sly Foxes. The Bedford Reader, Eighth
Edition. Ed. Dorothy Kennedy. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2003. 276-279.
Print.
Brown, Marc. Arthurs Pet Business. Canada: Little Brown &
Company Limited, 1990. Print. (Page 8).
Conover, Chris. Mother Goose and the Sly Fox. New York: Farrar,
Straus, and Giroux, 1989.

Print.

Mayer, Mercer. I Just Forgot. New York: Random House Childrens


Books, 1988. Print. (Page 16).
Reynolds, Troy. Phone Interview. 6 November 2014.