A companion to the highly successful and beautifully illustrated picturebook The Girls, The Boys follows the lives and friendship of four boys – Rey, Nattie, Bobby and Tam – through the years of babyhood to adulthood. We first meet the boys on a beach with their mothers and follow them through their adolescence and into adulthood. Throughout the book the beach plays an important role for the boys; as they learn and grow, the beach at times seems to be its own character. As they mature, the boys reflect a positive representation of masculinity and are kind and helpful to others. Now adults, we see Bobby helping with household chores, Rey being shown as a primary caregiver and Nattie engaging with his children.
This book highlights that all boys and men can be strong and good but also gentle and kind. The illustrations are light and colourful, with details filled to the brim for curious readers. It’s the perfect book for children to read on their own or to have read to them. What I found truly wonderful and a joy to see was the different types of people represented on the page. I believe that any book in which a child see themselves is bound to be a good one.