What if there was something more
not found within a book?
I closed my eyes as tightly as I could
and took a look…
Mr. Dove’s class is trying to decide what they would like to be when they grow up. While most of the children in the class get busy instantly jotting down their ideas, there is one girl, Annie, whose mind is bubbling with many ideas due to which she has a hard time deciding what she should choose to write about.
Alien Hunter? Master Ice Cream Maker? Deep Sea Explorer? President of the universe?
She finds a company, in all her confusion, in Mr. Dove who is a grown-up and their teacher but who still dreams of becoming a painter, a cook, a writer, a choir singer, an actor among many things.
Mr. Dove understands Annie well enough and gives her a day’s time to finish her paper in rhymes, something she loves doing most. The next day, Annie brings a lovely rhyming poem which begins with…
When I grow up
I want to be
So many things
Too many to see
My review –
When Jon Hales, the author of this book, approached me for reviewing his book, I did a small research. I found atleast 10 books on Amazon UK and 6 books on Amazon India by the same name ‘When I grow up’ and I was quite intrigued by the ubiquity of this theme. Having read Annie and Mr. Dove’s story, I am now curious to find out what is in there in the other books. I may as well do one post, sometime, reviewing as many ‘When I grow up’ books as I can get hold of.
Coming back to Annie’s Story, I read it to Dhruv and both of us loved going through it. If the lines rhyme then they surely work for us. The trouble with rhyme is often it can tend to get too childish and repetitive but it is not the case here. The lines are intelligently done in tune with the pace of the story and the words flow with ease.
The author’s imagination needs to be applauded for coming up with a girl protagonist who is unlike all the stereotypes we find in most of the books published in this part of the world. She is not white with blonde hair. Her name appears as Annie Chen at the end of her poem which is proof of her depiction in the illustrations. She is extremely imaginative in thinking and making her own professions thereby not settling for conservative roles.
The teacher, Mr. Dove, is a person who is part weird, part funny but overall encouraging of the kids. He is made out to be an interesting character who makes up his own words, for example – he says out aloud Pish or Powww in order to quieten the class. Personally, I would have liked such a teacher in my class at school but I don’t see my class quietening down by hearing Powww instead they would have been rolling over with laughter. His words ‘Lazies and Jellymen’ for Ladies and Gentlemen evoked giggles while reading and are here to stay in our house for the time being. Papa may not be Jellyman but Mummy is definitely now called ‘Lazy’. Thank you, Mr. Author, for coining these words.
The illustrations are in a double page spread format which I would have appreciated more in the form of a printed copy as compared to the PDF file I have. There are fine nuances in every picture aptly supporting the written words. One illustration which struck a chord with me was of Annie’s classroom rich in diversity including children of all colours and ethnicity, a reality I see everyday in Dhruv’s classmates in school.
My verdict –
I would have loved to have a book like this when I was a little girl. This book is for every girl who dreams big as well as for someone who needs wings to let her imagination fly. This book is for every boy for they need to read and understand more of the girls’ world. This book is also for grown-ups who need to feel okay with dreaming of being something else than whatever role they are playing at present.
Author – Jon Hales
illustrator – Paula Monteagudo
Release Year – First published in December 2018
Age group – 4 – 8 years
I received a free PDF copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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