WHEN I GROW UP by Julie Chen
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 4
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A small child muses about the future as Mom guides the bedtime routine.

The premise and the characters are established from the start. Large, black lettering on the verso says, “Mom, when I grow up, what do you think I will be?” On the opposite page, plenty of white, negative space surrounds the opening scene: A small child stands on the bed, hand reaching out to a friendly pet dachshund, as Mom begins unlacing the child’s pale green hoodie. Mother and child have dark hair and pink-cheeked faces a shade lighter than the dog’s brown fur—all rendered with masterful control of ink sketching and pastel washes. All three have equally sweet facial expressions. Throughout the text, the child questions Mom about possible future traits and characteristics, occupations, and accomplishments. Such fanciful questions as “Will I be the mayor and let kids run the town?” are matched by equally imaginative illustrations, with the added treat of the dachshund’s inclusion (here the pup serves as aide as a multiethnic group of reporters attend a press conference). The depiction of the child as musician is especially lovely: Child and dog sit beneath a tree as the child pipes and birds fill its branches. Funny artwork extends the narrative with a subplot in which Mom struggles to get her child’s clothes off, hair brushed, etc. Young children will love the repetition of “Will I be…?” Mom talks just enough at the end to prepare both child and readers for sweet dreams.

Winning text and illustrations for bedtime. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4814-9719-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2018


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