It's Hard to Be Five

What It Is

A five-year-old boy tells us, through an easy-to-read rhyming beat, about the many trials and tribulations of his age. We learn about how hard it is to control one’s hands and mouth, sit still, keep clean, start a new school and a number of other “hardships”. He turns the corner upon the realization that his body and mind are like a car. With the “license to steer,” he can make many decisions such as use manners, when to walk and run, cross the street and even how to dream.

Why It’s Fun

The text is fun to read and the male “star” is a refreshing change from all the “girly-girl” books on the modern market. Laura Cornell’s illustrations, though very busy, have an element of humor, both obvious and hidden, which appears to be a common thread in many of Jamie Lee Curtis’ books. Parents will enjoy the subtle puns in the graphics such as the subject’s t-shirt that says “The 5th Beatle” or “5 is the new black”, though your child probably won’t get the joke.

Who’s Going To Love It

As a parent, I felt great knowing that I was spending quality time discussing childhood “issues” with my five-year-old. However, while I had a “that’s-a-really-good-book” feeling, she surprised me by saying it was “boring”. Not wanting to rely on a sample of one, I asked her pre-k teacher to read it to the class (without having shared our thoughts). Her reaction mirrored mine. In fact, one young lad in class even called out “This book is so long. When’s it done?”

Our conclusion was that, while the topic was relevant, the amount of self-control topics packed within this one book made the overall message overwhelming and hard to grasp for the average five-year-old. Perhaps tackling a smaller number of self-control topics might make it easier for young kids to digest. We also felt that the illustrations were way too busy to capture and keep their attention.

The publisher’s recommended ages are 4 to 8. Again, the age appropriateness of the theme is right-on, but only the very older end of the spectrum may get the message. But, they won’t want to read a book about a five-year-old. Maybe the title should be “It’s Hard to Be Seven”?

Reading Time

About three minutes.

Read-It-Again Points

5 out of 10

Book Information

It’s Hard to Be Five
By: Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell
Published by: HarperCollins
Approximate retail price: $16.99 (hardcover)


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