An earnest message for (mostly) young readers: Adults may look grown up, but they don’t leave the children they were behind.
In block-lettered lines fitted in around the cartoon figures that populate his pages, Blackshaw casts typical adult behavior in a juvenile light with help from four grown-ups, three white people in street clothes and a black man in tight-fitting workout clothes. Superimposed within each full-color character is an interior black-and-white mini-me that mirrors every gesture and mood. When grown-ups “want a new toy,” the author explains, “they call it a gadget or say that it is something they really need.” Evidence of inner children abounds: “Nasty adults” have nasty kids inside (a secondary character whose interior child has a loaded diaper represents these unpleasant people); people in love speaking baby talk (“I wub you!” “I wub you too”); and sometimes grown-ups just have to cut loose and dance or play in some other way. He goes on to warn young readers that there will still be things that scare, annoy, or anger them when they’re older too. The author’s closing claim that inner children should be encouraged because they “make being an adult…SO MUCH FUN!” won’t lighten the gloom much for children who were actually hoping that adulthood would be better, or at least different. On the other hand, children, or anyone, puzzled by the strange things grown-ups do may appreciate the insight.
Sketchy and reductive but probably, alas, fairly valid. (Picture book. 6-8)