Reading ‘The Magnificent Toby Plum’ with your child
You can use Toby’s story to help your children to appreciate diversity and feel comfortable in their bodies. Here are some discussion points for you and your child:
Coping with bad feelings
See how Toby doesn’t feel very happy at bedtime. Sometimes everyone can be a bit upset. What do you do if you are upset about things? If you were Toby’s friend what would you do or say to help him?
- Encourage your child to think of positive ways of coping when they are upset. Whenever we ask children about this they come up with all sorts of creative and sweet ideas for cheering up a friend!
- Positive ways of coping include talking about it, doing something fun together and getting help from a trusted grown-up.
Appreciating that their appearance does not reflect their worth
Look at Toby’s mismatched pyjamas and look at how Differ is a strange mixture of creatures. Nobody is perfect all the time and that’s ok! It doesn’t matter that Toby and Differ don’t look perfect all the time. What are some of things that are unique and special about you? Would someone know all this by just looking at you?
- Encourage your child to think of all their positive qualities and help them to recognize and celebrate their own identity
- Remind your child that our outer appearance does not tell us much about what a person is really like on the inside – you can’t judge a book by it’s cover!
Accepting and appreciating diversity
Have you noticed all the magnificent differences that Toby and Differ find in nature? The snowflakes, the sea creatures, the birds, the lizards – there are so many different shapes and sizes and colours and patterns in nature! They’re all unique and special in their own way.
Can you imagine living in Sameville? What would it be like in your school if everybody looked the same, liked all the same things and were all just as good as each other at everything?
- It has been suggested that by the time today’s children reach age 70, they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching only television! The media often shows us a very limited and narrow version of beauty.
- Numerous studies show that viewing images of idealised beauty in the media has an effect on us, leading to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with our own looks and appearance.
- Encourage your child to think about how people come in all different shapes and sizes and there is much more variety in real-life than their often is on TV, online and in the movies.
- Remind your child that the images they see in the media are often photoshopped or digitally-altered and that the models and actors may look very different in real-life.