WHEN I AM BIG by Maria Dek


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 6
Email this review


What small child doesn’t love to count or to anticipate all the glorious things they will do when they are bigger?

This original picture book combines these two pastimes by embedding succeeding numbers within increasingly imaginative, bold fantasies for the future—when the child is older and free to have “5 scoops of ice cream for lunch” or “7 different jobs, one for each day of the week.” Each numeral stands out, enlarged and assertive, within the narrator’s declarative dreams. But who is the narrator? The first page suggests a light-skinned boy, but when admiring the “7 different jobs” (among them cookie taster, scallop diver, and opera singer), observant readers notice several different figures (of, perhaps, different genders, as one wears just swimming trunks and another wears a long gown) at work. By the time the narrator plans to “play a trumpet with 11 buttons,” readers see a blond, pink-cheeked man on the horn and know this voice encompasses the desires of many children, not just one dreamer. However, Dek’s figures appear all from the same place and pale-skinned palette, though some have ruddier cheeks than others. It seems a missed opportunity to engage a broad audience of readers not to show them an impressive spectrum of children of varying skin tones and backgrounds.

The watercolor illustrations, charming, comedic, and pleasing, will no doubt delight readers, although they won’t show many of them reflections of themselves. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-61689-602-7
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Princeton Architectual Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018


ChildrenGOOD MORNING, NEIGHBOR by Davide Cali
by Davide Cali
ChildrenA WALK IN THE FOREST by Maria Dek
by Maria Dek


ChildrenA WALK IN THE FOREST by Maria Dek
by Maria Dek
ChildrenONE GORILLA by Anthony Browne
by Anthony Browne
ChildrenMY GARDEN by Kevin Henkes
by Kevin Henkes