#491 – When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . in the U.S. Army by Mark Shyres and Debbie Hefke


When I Grow Up I Want To Be…in the U.S. Army!

by Mark Shyres and Debbie Hefke, illustrator

Wigu Publishing   2013


Age 7 to 9      54 pages


Back Cover

“When Jake’s teacher assigns a “career” project, Jake decides he wants to be a soldier in the United States Army. Jake and his father visit an Army surplus store to find items he can use to present his project. As they search the store, each item makes the history and proud spirit of the U.S. Army come to life for Jake and readers alike. Through Jake’s discoveries, readers are introduced to the history of the U.S. Army, what soldiers’ duties include, and the equipment hey use.”


“This is the story of a boy named Jake. Jake has a school project: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Jake picks a soldier in the U.S. Army. Here is how he learned all about it.”


When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . in the U.S. Army is the first in a series of vocational books for kids. I have never seen vocational books like these. In this first book, the teacher assigns Jake a career project. He is to decide what he wants to be when he grows up and present it to his class. Jake has chosen to show his class what being in the U.S. Army looks like. With his father, Jake goes to an Army surplus store and gets everything he needs to look enlisted in the U.S. Army.


I like the idea of the surplus store. Having been in one, I know the massive amount of military items most carry. This is definitely true for Jake and his father. The surplus store had medals, emblems, stripes, hats, boots, uniforms, gas masks, weapons, and most anything else associated with the army. Jake had a great time picking out his outfit while at the same time learning the history of the U.S. Army.

Young boys will certainly like When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . in the U.S. Army, but don’t count out young girls. While the equipment and gear is all male oriented, girls interested in the military will see the universal appeal. Boys who are reluctant readers will love this series. Most words are simple and the unusual words are included in a glossary at the back of the book.


In addition to the illustrations, there are photographs depicting the U.S. Army, its history, and some of the roles students can consider. Beginning with a photograph of the inside of a surplus store, shot through a window, the photographs then include the Liberty Bell in all its cracked glory, officers in their dress uniforms, and marching soldiers at boot camp. A board of patches and emblems representing all areas of the army stretches several feet high. There is even a photograph of a well-known four-star general.

The illustrations are terrific. I like the sparkle in Jake’s eyes. His enthusiasm never wanes. A drill sergeant set in stone will keep Jake on his toes. I particularly like two illustrations, both of Jake. In one, Jake tries on a helmet and his eyes disappear, nicely showing the size of a helmet in comparison to the size of a young boy’s head. The other shows a wide-eyed Jake pointing like an iconic recruitment poster that says, “The U. S. Army wants YOU!”  All of the illustrations elevate this book to a much higher level of quality.


Parents and teachers will love the When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . .  series of books. The illustrations and stories make the careers easier to understand, helping kids make better-informed choices. Add in all the other When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . books in the series, and those that will be published in the coming years, and kids will have a vocational encyclopedia of careers to consider. Teachers can incorporate one or more of the series in their teaching plan for the year. I think the When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . series could become the set young kids turn to first when thinking of their future. I would not base a career choice solely on this series, but for young children, it is a great place to begin.


Learn more about When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . in the U.S. Army! HERE.

Purchase When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . in the U.S. Army! at AmazonPublisherat your local bookstore.


Find out more about the author/illustrator, Mark Shyres:    linkedin    wigu bio

Find out more about the illustrator, Debbie Hefke:    website    linkedin    pinterest    deviantart    donanza    freelanced       wigu bio

Learn more about the publisher, Wigu Publishing:    website    facebook     twitter     pinterest


WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE . . . IN THE U.S. ARMY!  Text copyright © 2013 by Mark Shyres. Illustrations copyright © by Mark Shyres and Debbie Hefke. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wigu Publishing, Laguna Beach, CA.


Other titles in the I Want to Grow Up to Be . . . Series



. . . a Race Car Driver

. . . a Nurse

. . . a Veterinarian

. . . a Good Person

. . . in the US Air Force


grow up us army


10 thoughts on “#491 – When I Grow Up I Want to Be . . . in the U.S. Army by Mark Shyres and Debbie Hefke

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  5. Nice review, Sue! I like the sound of this series to get kids thinking about future possibilities.


    • Thanks! Yeah, these are going to be interesting. One is general that everyone should want to be . . . a Good Person. That one surprised me. I like the Race Car Driver idea. I haven’t seen that one yet.


  6. I LOVE this idea. The upcoming books sound good, too. Starting with a soldier is brilliant. It sure beats every Little Leaguer thinking he’ll grow up to be a professional baseball player.


    • I thought you might. I had read this series is the first vocation books for kids so they can think about their future. I still had no idea when I started college. Not even a hunch. Being a teacher is up next. Sorry, Cupcake, nothing about wanting to be a canine.


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