When I Grow Up

illus. by Diane Goode. 32p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481497190.
PreS-Gr 2—Television talk show personality Chen and acclaimed illustrator Goode team up to create a picture book celebration of one boy's lofty aspirations about growing up—always with the loving support of his mother. Is he destined to be funny or smart? Live near or far? Become a teacher and let dogs come to school or be mayor and have kids run the town? One thing is assured by his loving mom: he can achieve whatever he dreams as she faithfully accompanies him along the journey. Some of the phrases are endearingly poetic: "Will I be a baker and make the world a sweeter place to live? Will I be a painter and make the world more beautiful?" Yet the top-notch illustrations often outshine the words. The notion of living near or far, for example, is captured with smiley-faced, squat houses holding hands, followed by the same two houses spaced from top-to-bottom along different parts of a globe. Goode's unique interpretation of each line is gracefully imaginative. On almost every page, his mother is there encouraging him, the most inspiring image of her holding onto a thin, threadbare rope while son climbs the precipice of a cliff to reach her. The accompanying words are "Will I be a climber and reach the mountaintops?"
VERDICT A worthwhile read-aloud for parent and child to share as they reflect upon the future together that is even suitable at bedtime. A poignant celebration of how moms can help their children in the search for self-discovery.

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