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LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! by Nancy Viau


by Nancy Viau ; illustrated by Anna Vojtech

Pub Date: March 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0529-8
Publisher: Abrams

Baby animals strive to “stand up strong,” leap high and “spin a trap.” But learning is full of challenges, distractions and fun. In this message-driven tale, children see how various creatures struggle to develop and gain confidence.

Viau chooses a single rhyming couplet to describe most spreads. A baby bird knows, “It’s not easy to leave the nest. / I flap my wings. I try my best.” Unfortunately each couplet strictly follows the same pattern, which grates by the end. A periodic chorus—“Friends of forest, / field, and stream, / Keep trying on your own. / Be proud today. / Have fun and play. / In time you will be grown”—comes across as a series of well-meaning but stale platitudes. The bright spot is Vojtech’s impressive illustrations. She chooses to zoom in on the animal pairs featured in each spread, which creates an exciting immediacy for those poring over the details. On the pages with the refrain, children will especially enjoy looking for each animal duo previously introduced. In the end, this all serves to remind kids to take things slowly and keep trying new things, be they walking, hopping or skipping rope.

This title was clearly produced with the best of intentions, but regrettably, it does not quite coalesce into a successful reading experience.

(Picture book. 3-5)