When I grow up #PictureBookReview 22


What if there was something more

not found within a book?

I closed my eyes as tightly as I could

and took a look…

Story – 

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.

A sneak peek into the book

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.

The diverse classroom. Please excuse the bad image quality.

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

Available on – Amazon UK,  Amazon India

I received a free PDF copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer – This post contains Amazon affiliate links meaning if you make a purchase through any of these links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you, Thank you for your support.


  1. Amusing names, indeed…Lazies and Jellymen! 😛
    This book reminded me of a poem my younger bro had in school..it went something like this…
    “I always wonder,
    why, oh, why,
    the elders always say..”

    And something about what the child will do once he grows up…can’t remember it now, sorry…but it used to amuse me back then, wondering the same. Parents back then had great expectations from their kids. Badaa hokar kya banega? Doctor ya engineer? Those were the only two professions parents thought of. And, for kids, like yours truly, who hated studies and wasn’t a great student, it used to get frightening thinking ki agar main dono me se kuch nahi bann saki, toh kya hoga mera???

    I too wish this book had been written when we were kids and I wish our parents had read it then…esp my dad! 😛 Burden thoda kam hota hum par!


    1. Meri bhi lambi kahani hai. Doctor, engineer nahin ban Sakti thi to commerce liya. Pitashree ka bulb jala – ab to meri beti CA banegi. CA Ka chance khatam hua to MBA karegi, naukri karegi. Kuch to karna tha to ye Kar liya. Jab bachha hua to saas aur maa ne kaha ab ghar baithegi ye aur bachha paalegi. Papa ne phir Kaha ghar baith kar ab stock market khelegi meri beti. Kitaabein padhegi aur review karegi ye kisne socha tha.
      Aur is tarah main ne saari pol khol di Hindi main.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Looks like a lovely book. And I feel it should have come when I was a little girl – because I wanted to be everything. Come to think of it- nothing has changed much, I still want to be a lot of things.

    Lazies and Jellymen, who wouldn’t want a teacher like Mr. Dove – sympathetic and funny. Let me see if I can find this on Amazon India for my little girl, I am sure she would love it.

    Thanks for a lovely review!!


  3. What an utterly delightful book! I have had the pleasure of having a teacher like that in school 🙂 He was one reason I grew up, fascinated with the idea of learning for its own sake. A good teacher makes such a difference in kids’ lives.

    Okay now I am going to say ‘jellymen’ for all gentlemen 😉 How cute!

    Also, if you like this book and haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend ‘The Dot’ by Peter Reynolds. One of my favourite kids’ books 🙂


  4. This book sounds adorable and I envy your sounding board – Dhruv. You seem to pack so much fun in reviewing the books as you have a partner in crime.

    Lazy and Jellymen indeed – thats quite hilarious!!


  5. Haha…This one sounds absolutely wonderful to me! I love reading these kiddo books even now and often wonder how amazing it is that some children’s books appeal so much to grownups too, right?


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