Peanut Goes for the Gold

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Peanut Goes for the Gold Book Poster Image
Super-positive hamster sets goal, delivers in upbeat tale.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows it takes hard work and practice to prepare for competition and meet a goal. 


Positive Messages

Do things your own way, even if people think you're weird. Work hard and practice to get better. Ask for help when you need it. Even if you make a mistake, even if you tumble, you can recover. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Peanut is positive, confident, enthusiastic, works hard to achieve a goal. Peanut's parents and brother are supportive, positive. In terms of representation, the use of pronoun "they" underlines Peanut's nonbinary identity. And pear-shaped Peanut models a positive body image, performing a routine with confidence, athleticism, grace.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Peanut Goes for the Goal is by Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert on the TV show Queer Eye, with cartoon-like illustrations by Gillian Reid. It tells the story of an adorable hamster named Peanut, who decides to be a rhythmic gymnast, practices hard, has the loving support of family, and competes in a big competition. It's cute, lively, and upbeat. The author uses the pronoun "they" when referring to Peanut. Nonbinary kids will recognize themselves in the book, and parents can use the book as an opportunity to talk about gender expansiveness. Kids who don't notice the "they" language may just get wrapped up in the fun story about a self-motivated kid training for a big competition. It's also an appealing model of body positivity, with pear-shaped Peanut confident, graceful, and athletic in a sparkly red leotard. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLasaraleenosama... August 28, 2020


I don’t like that the hamster is named Peanut, because many children are allergic to peanuts.

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What's the story?

From the first sentence of PEANUT GOES FOR THE GOLD, it's clear that "Peanut has their own way of doing things" -- like "having banana pancakes on their birthday instead of cake ... and cutting their own hair as they Hula-Hoop." And once Peanut decides to do something, "there's just no stopping them." Peanut decides to be a rhythmic gymnast, trains hard, and enters a big competition, and it works out well, despite a big mistake. 

Is it any good?

This upbeat story shows a kid hamster driven to achieve greatness, willing to work hard to get there, and appreciating the help of loved ones along the way. Peanut Goes for the Gold is a super-positive story that highlights nonbinary gender identity by the use of the pronoun "they" in references to Peanut. Peanut's enthusiasm, determination, and pure joy is inspiring, and Gillian Reid's illustrations capture Peanut's exuberant spirit. It's a fresh take on the know-who-you-are and follow-your-dream themes that's downright irresistible. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the big competition in Peanut Goes for the Goal. What does Peanut do to prepare for it? Have you ever had a big competition or performance to get ready for? What happened? 

  • What's fun about the art in this book? Which pictures are your favorite? What do you like about them? 

  • Peanut makes a mistake but quickly recovers. How hard is it to do that in life? Do you think you can have as positive an attitude as Peanut has? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love books to boost self-esteem and books with LGBTQ+ characters

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