Product Reviewed: Sticker Dolly Dressing Dream Jobs, by Emily Bone and Steven Wood (Usborne Activities).
Age Range: 5-8 year olds.
Star Rating: 4 / 5 stars
The Good: A fun activity book with positive career role modelling for girls. There are some unusual job options in here – expect lots of questions!
The Bad: Fine motor skills required to remove and place the stickers may be tricky for some 5 year olds.
The Verdict: This would make a great school holiday gift for your daughters, granddaughters and nieces. It’s not often that you find such a fun, educational and inspirational activity book for young girls.
Towards the end of last year, my daughter Jewel won the annual citizenship award for her kindergarten class. Proud mum alert! She received a certificate and a bookstore gift voucher. Jewel had never won anything before, and never really had her own money before, and so it was that at the very next opportunity, we went book shopping.
She wanted to buy the very first book that she spotted as we walked through the door. (She hasn’t really mastered the art of shopping just yet.)
And so we talked about making a short list and narrowing it down. We talked about how some books are great to borrow from the library (where we are wearing out our membership cards), and others, like activity books, or books that you want to keep for a long time, are better to buy. We talked about prices, how much she had to spend, and how her choices might mean that she can buy one book, or two, or three.
We let her choose her own short list. We helped her work out the prices and how much it would add up to. She was steadfast in her final decision. She chose two sticker activity books. She bought them with her own money. She carried them all the way home.
This was one of them. And I’m loving all the science girls in it!
What is Dream Jobs – Sticker Dolly Dressing book by Usborne Activities
Dream Jobs is a sticker activity book that follows a loose story about three girls, Katy, Becca and Leyla, as they consider their dream jobs and what they would entail. The book starts by introducing the girls and their likes: Katy loves nature and being active; Becca is fascinated by science; and Leyla is mad about fashion. It then looks at a few of the occupations that each girl might consider when they grow up.
The message that this book conveys is not just that it’s OK for girls to go against the grain and be interested in science and STEM careers, but that STEM jobs are part of the normal array of jobs that girls might consider. It helps remove the stereotype that particular careers are for boys or girls.
“If Becca became an engineer, she’d work on super-fast cars. Before a race, she’d make final checks to the engine, wheels and bodywork. She would wear a thick jumpsuit and gloves to protect her clothes from dirt and grease. It would be so loud at the race track that Becca would shout instructions to her team using a radio headset.”
- The book is 30.5 x 24 x 0.5cm.
- There are 12 dream jobs featured: a vet in Africa, choreographer, car engineer, professional snowboarder, fashion magazine editor, costume designer, chef, helicopter pilot, forensic scientist, marine biologist, doctor and reporter, as well as an introductory page, a page on dressing for an internship, and a concluding page hinting at the each girl’s chosen career.
- For each dream job scene, there is a short paragraph detailing what the job would entail, and what sort of clothes you would wear if you did that job, with corresponding stickers so you can dress each of the girls. The focus is on the functionality of the clothing, rather than aesthetics.
- The stickers are grouped together in the middle of the book, and are labelled according to which dream job page they correspond with. Most of the stickers are items of clothing (pants, top, shoes, hats, gloves, bags, etc). There are also a few scenery stickers that draw attention to certain aspects of the job location.
Pros and Cons
- This book does a fantastic job of highlighting that different girls can have different interests, and that these interests lend themselves to different career choices. All the interests and career choices are portrayed equally valuable. (I love that it includes marine biologist, which one of the careers Jewel has been aspiring to.)
- The girls start out in discreet undergarments (usually undies and a singlet). The clothing stickers are all appropriate for the roles, without any focus on sexualisation. The girls have realistic girl body proportions. They all have different hair colours and lengths. (I love that one of the girls has shorter brown hair, just like Jewel’s).
- The majority of the stickers are actually useful for the clothing or setting the scene. (Nothing annoys me more than when activity books proclaim to have 300 stickers, and 200 are tiny and useless filler stickers.)
- The stickers are fairly easy for older kids to take out and stick on. Occasionally my 5.5 year old daughter would tear a sticker as she took it out, but she’s now learnt to slow down and treat the stickers more carefully. When she sticks a sticker on slightly incorrectly (which happens quite often, as it’s hard for kids to line up the arms, pant legs etc), she could usually peel it off and reposition it without any issues.
- The finished book can double as a picture book with positive female career modelling, giving it a potential shelf life much longer than the original sticker activity.
- As I mentioned earlier, some of the stickers are tricky to take out without tearing, especially for younger kids. It’s also hard to line up the sleeves and pant legs. This can be quite frustrating.
- The stickers aren’t very sticky, and often don’t stay completely stuck. This is helpful when repositioning the stickers, but it does become (slightly) annoying when sticker edges keep lifting up that you want to stay down.
Usborne have released many (at least 50) sticker dolly dressing and sticker dressing activity books, and I can’t vouch for most of them. We have however, previously bought (and really loved) the double book Kings & Queens and Costumes Around the World, which I think is a fantastic way to learn about history. (I liked it so much that I’ve since bought a copy of the single Kings and Queens sticker dressing book as a gift for a friend). Jewel also bought their Dancers book (also with her prize money) and, whilst it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t nearly as good as the others that we’ve tried.
The nitty gritty: what do I really think? What do my kids think? Would I buy it?
My 5.5 year old daughter Jewel loves this book. It’s slightly beyond her reading ability, but she can definitely comprehend all the content and imagine herself in each of these job roles. The sticker work is also right on the cusp of her fine motor skills, so that it’s a challenge, but doable. (She usually has to repositions the sleeve and pant legs, as they are tricky to get it right first try). Jewel didn’t ‘do’ the book in the order set out – she flicked through and choose the pages she likes best first, and then has come back to the other ones.
My 3.25 year old daughter Bumble also loves this book and would love to have one for herself! I wouldn’t recommend it for this age group though, as she doesn’t have the world awareness yet to understand all the concepts. She also doesn’t have the fine motor skills to be able to take the stickers out, although if I hand them to her, she can position them in approximately the right place. (I have to suppress my OCD tendencies to straighten them though).
I think this is fantastic book for encouraging young girls to broaden their scopes and follow their dreams. It’s fun and sends a great message. I would happily buy this as a gift for a 5 or 6 year old girl. Depending on how well our first copy lasts over the years, I may even buy a second copy when Bumble reaches this age.
What I’d Love to See
- More! I’d love to see several versions of this book, covering more job options, with the same healthy scattering of STEM roles in amongst the more traditionally ‘girly’ roles.
- I’d love to see a similar style of female-oriented mixed career sticker activity book, but where the stickers focused more on tools of the trade than on the clothes worn.
- A range of girl dolls with these corresponding outfits would be really, really awesome.
- A similar sticker book where the girls were more obviously of different races would also be cool.
Where to buy a Dream Jobs Sticker Dolly Dressing, Usborne Activities book
Jewel bought her copy from Pages & Pages Booksellers at Mosman (in Sydney, Australia), whom I’d also like to thank for supporting our local school, as I’m guessing they donated the prizes.
You can buy Dream Jobs online (via these affiliate links) from Amazon.com (for the US) and Amazon.co.uk (for the brits) and Book Depository (for Australia and other countries). You may also be able to find it on-shelf at your local bookstore.
Have you bought Dream Jobs? What did you think? Or do you have any other positive female role model book suggestions? I’d love to hear them.
Disclaimer: My daughter bought this book with her prize money. This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my (or my kids’) own. I have, at my own discretion, included some affiliate links in this post. An affiliate link means I may earn referral / advertising fees if you make a purchase through my link, without any extra cost to you. Referral / advertising fees are one of the ways I can keep this blog afloat. Thank you for your support.