Addressing both a winsome girl character and child readers, Swenson invites kids to speculate what sort of dog, cat, fish, bird, bug, frog and dinosaur they might want to be.
She provides plenty of inventive images to get young imaginations flowing. “If you were a frog, / would you be a / giant-hopper, / ribbety-racer, / mighty jumper, / dragonfly-chaser, / lily-pad-bumper, / croaking-ballooner, / summer-night-crooner / sort of frog? // Would you spring and zing / and hop all day? / BOING, BOING, RIBBET! / Some frogs do.” Raschka’s pictures, in a palette of cool blue-green and warm orange-brown, playfully depict each animal’s antics against rectangular watercolor washes. His creatures, simply composed of thick contours and blobs of color, nonetheless capture signature distinctions, such as a “yarn-tangling” cat’s mesmerized eyes and the businesslike mien of a “trout-snatching” bird in flight. For the dinosaurs, he supplies a warty-looking T. Rex and a blue-striped tree-chomping herbivore, wild-eyed and slurpy-tongued. Swenson dials it down in the final pages, conspiratorially acknowledging that, while kids can’t be any of those animals, they can move and sound like them—for a while. Then, “You can… // GIGGLE, GIGGLE, GIGGLE! / like a kid! // And that is the very best / sort of thing to be.”
Swenson’s rhythmic cadences coupled
with Raschka’s wry, upbeat illustrations yield a title that’s a cheery
picker-upper. (Picture book. 3-6)