A whimsical, engaging, beautifully illustrated celebration of imagining the future—obstacles and all.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Four children follow their dreams of future professions in this rhyming picture book.

Kids are frequently asked what they want to be when they grow up. Wonders’ inquisitive narrator asks the pictured children: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?” In Nasi’s creative, painterly illustrations, the four kids—all with different skin tones and features—face reflections of imagined careers as a chef, inventor, pilot, and artist. In the following pages, their dreams help them to see future possibilities: They are small, but shine brightly; with determination, they will reach their goals; and despite setbacks, they will get up and move forward. The author’s rhymes scan well throughout, and the sometimes-challenging vocabulary (freewheeling, thespian) makes this a good choice for independent readers looking to stretch their skills. Nasi’s watercolors, with inventive landscapes and backgrounds for the four children, are captivating and will invite young readers to inspect each page for details. Wonders’ rhyming list of possible professions is accompanied by the four main kids and several others sporting various costumes or holding props to signify each job (with no gender bias in the occupations). The images are repeated in the end pages with a guessing game for readers to figure out which youngsters have dreamed each career.

A whimsical, engaging, beautifully illustrated celebration of imagining the future—obstacles and all.

Pub Date: June 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-3-907130-16-2

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Gmuer Verlag

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2021


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


Certain to steal hearts.

In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

Close Quickview