When I Grow Up
ABC Books, 2016
32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Hairdresser, inventor, astronaut, writer, performer, secret agent…little people have big dreams when they are asked that perennial question about what they want to be when they grow up. And these days nothing is impossible. But there is one thing that is more important than anything else…
This is an engaging book that not only explores the range of possibilities that little ones suggest but also has fun exploring what they think those jobs involve. For example, the writer suggests he will write a story about “a prince [rescuing] a princess, and she’ll say, “I can rescue myself, thank you!” But they will still live happily ever after.” The inventor will invent “a bedroom cleaner (that’s not called me)” while the budding hairdresser will tame goldy locks into buns and braids, bobs and beehives and give the boys buzzcuts or bowls.
Once again, Jonathan Bentley’s superb illustrations take the text to a higher level as they translate imagination into reality.
These sorts of books are perfect for helping budding readers and writers as they serve as a wonderful model for a class book. Imagine the interest in writing and illustrating a page about your dreams for your future and then having these collated into a book to be pored over and over, maybe even set up as a slideshow to be shared with parents and grandparents from afar. Even research can begin as they discover just what is involved in their choices perhaps inviting parents or representatives of their choices to talk to them -learning that it is often not enough to say what they want but justifying it too.
Personal, in-context activities like these are irresistible to young children and boost their writing and reading enormously as they have such an explicit, overt purpose and meaning consolidating what they expect from a story.