You Can Do It by Betsy Lewin Picture Book Review (Unit 2)


Lewin, Betsy. You Can Do It.


Lewin, Betsy. You Can Do It. Malaysia: Holiday House, 2013. ISBN: 9780823425228

Plot Summary:

Everyone suffers from self doubt at least one in their life. Anthropomorphized alligators are no exception.  This children’s book is about an alligator who wants to participate in a race. He’s told, by the bully, that he can’t do it. His friend encourages him and tells him that he can do it. So with the help of his cheerleading friend, he trains for the big race. He works really hard to be able to do his best in the race, getting stronger and faster. There are no limits on what you can do when you put forth the effort, as this alligator learns.

Critical Analysis: 

This book did a lot of things right. As far as the text goes, it is simple enough that any child who knows how to read can do so independently. The text is very repetitive, which is great for the kids, because it sticks in their brains, and makes it easier for them to remember. The illustrations are very good. Paired with the text, it gives the story more depth. When the alligator is working out, we can tell from the illustrations that he is exuding effort and it’s not an easy task to prepare yourself physically for something.

The best thing that this book does is give kids a strong moral. When he is told that he can’t do it, his friend encourages him and lets him know that he can do it. That gives him the strength to believe in himself and try to better himself. He works hard and puts a lot of effort into bettering himself. It encourages kids to try their best and work hard to make themselves better.

Review Excerpt:

From Booklist:

“Easy-on-the-eyes white space surrounds the deceptively simple illustrations constructed from line drawings and a pale wash. With its common themes of self-doubt, confidence, and friendship, this charming book should be a perfect fit for preschoolers, many of whom will get to experience immediate reading success.”

From Kirkus Review:

“Channeling the can-do attitude of a certain little engine, Lewin’s alligator comes out on top with some help from his friend and despite the bullying of another gator.

Limited, repetitive text invites new readers to adopt the same spirit of determination about reading that the protagonist alligator does about swimming when he confidently tells his friend, “I can win” after they spy a sign reading “Big Race Sunday” posted on a tree.”



Books related to You Can Do It:

I Will Try by Marilyn Janovitz ISBN 0823427560

Dream Big by Deloris Jordan ISBN 9781442436237

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss ISBN 0679805273

Books by Betsy Lewin:

Animal Snackers ISBN 0805067485

Cat Count ISBN 0805067477

What’s the Matter, Habibi? ISBN  0618432426

Enrichment Activities:

As always, enrichment activities can be found on Pinterest.

One fun activity you could do with this is talk about goals that the child(ren) has/have. Create a goal list so they can see all the things they will have to do to achieve their goals. This will help teach them how to plan, take responsibility, and show them how to analyze their skills and needs and make a plan of action to achieve that.


Published by

Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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