Too Tall Alice

When I first heard of Too Tall Alice by Barbara Worton, I knew immediately that I wanted to review it. This children's book tells the story of Alice, who is ".... tall. Not T-Rex or Empire State Building tall. Just four inches taller than the other girls in her class." And to a young girl, that might just as well be Empire State Building tall. Alice just wants to be as tall as the rest of the girls in her class -- just like I did.

See, I'm tall. In the US, 5' 8" isn't tall, but given that the average height of a Filipino male is 5' 4", and the average height of a Filipino female is 4'11", in the Philippines that makes me tall. I was 5' 6" at 11 years old and I hated it. I was always the tallest in my class; always at the back of the line, at the back row in class photos, and always the girl who had to play Prince Charming in all of our school plays (I went to an all-girls school). Until I entered college, I was as tall or taller than most of the boys I knew. I wondered if boys were intimidated by my height and developed a slouch.

Can you tell I'm emotionally involved in this book?

Too Tall Alice will resonate with children who wish they were like everybody else, whether they feel they are too tall or short or skinny or chubby or quiet or whatever. I love the message of self confidence and empowerment. Even the cartoon illustrations and whimsical text support this theme -- just the right mix of mermaids and athletes, more "girl power" than "girly".

Poor Alice is self-conscious and miserable about her height. She dreams she goes to a land filled with tall people who are successful in their chosen careers, and more importantly, are happy with themselves. In the end, Alice learns to love herself and realizes that her height does not have to stop herself from being anything she wants to be.

There's a happy ending for me as well. I love my height now and love wearing heels. I do constantly have to remind myself to straighten up and stand tall -- old habits die hard -- but I'm happy the way I am, just like Alice.

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