When I Grow Up: I Can Be Anything by Jerry Spinelli
OF ALL THE MANY, MANY JOBS, WHICH ONE WILL BE BEST FOR ME? PUMPKIN GROWER, DANDELION BLOWER.
Making THAT decision is a tall order, and multiple Newbery Award-winner Jerry Spinelli's new picture book, I Can Be Anything! (Little, Brown, 2010) doesn't deal with skill sets or aptitudes. The first prerequisite for a youngster, he seems to saying, is the proverbial ability to think outside the box, to open up the wonder of unlimited possibilities, which he then does with great wit and inventiveness.
SNOWBALL SMOOTHER, BABY-SIS SOOTHER.
CHEEK-TO-CHEEK GRINNER, DIZZY-DANCE SPINNER.
OF ALL THE MANY, MANY JOBS,
WHICH ONE WILL BE BEST FOR ME?
PUMPKIN GROWER, DANDELION BLOWER.
As Spinelli's little hero, clad in blue cap and denim or costumed as a clown, magician, or astronnaut, bounds through artist Jimmy Lao's exuberant outdoor landscape peopled by cavorting rabbits, sad seals, birthday revellers and what have you, he spins out an amazing litany of rhyming jobs, each as varied as his language. Free-form typesetting design lets the delicious wordsmithery flow from page to page with the sorts of daily doings that are anything but drudgery (MIXING BOWL LICKER, TIN-CAN KICKER!)--until at last the text comes to rest in a double gatefold spread:
SO MANY JOBS! THEY'RE ALL SUCH FUN--
I'M GOING TO CHOOSE...
Spinelli, author of best-selling and acclaimed novels for middle readers such as Maniac Magee, Stargirl (Readers Circle,) Loser, and Crash shows in I Can Be Anything! that he can turn out light-hearted yet meaningful picture books for the youngest readers. As the professional nutshell putter for Kirkus puts it, "An inspired take on a timeless question."