I Want to Be a Lion Tamer (or a Vet . . . or a Zookeeper . . . or a Safari Guide . . .)
SERIES: I Want to Be . . .
Written by Ruby Brown
Illustrated by Alisa Coburn
Kane Miller EDC Publishing 3/01/2016
22 pages 8″ x 8″ Ages 2—5
“When I grow up, I can be anything I want to be!
“What do you want to be when you grow up? A dog walker? A vet? A lion tamer? A deep-sea diver? A stuntman? An astronaut? A spy? An exotic bird-breeder? These oversized, brightly-illustrated board books for our littlest learners perfectly demonstrate that the possibilities are endless, as are the opportunities for you to spend hours dreaming with your wee one about all that the future holds.
“(But not too fast! We know you want them to stay young forever . . .)” [press release]
A young boy and girl are caring for their two pets and a few animal toys. Their dog sleeps comfortably against two pillows. The kids have bandaged the dog’s girth, tail, and one paw. Together, the two kids groom a kitty and add a bright blue ribbon to the visibly happy—and purring—cat. The text reads,
“When I grow up, I want to be . . . A ZOOKEEPER.”
What will he do as a zookeeper? He will feed tigers, water elephants, and get a closer look at gorillas. The girl wants to be a dog walker. Using a fishing pole to keep the ten dogs walking, the girl skates behind the pack using canine power. Carefully checking out the spread’s detail and you will find one more dog tagging along.
I Want to Be a Lion Tame is an Australian import, originally published Chirpy Bird, a Hardie Grant Egmont imprint. Brown writes three-line descriptions of each professions tasks. Her sentences feel clipped, yet are lengthy for a board book.
“I’ll get up close to the gorillas.
I’ll give the tiger their lunch.
And I’ll water the elephants on really hot days.”
Coburn’s illustrations add humor and loads of detail young children will enjoy. As an example, the zookeeper will encounter a gorilla snacking on a full basket of bananas, while lounging against a rolled pillow. The tiger, wears a kerchief for a bib and utensils to cut and eat his steak. He eats by candlelight. Meanwhile, a gleeful elephant enjoys a swim, complete with arm floats. Many a discussion can develop just from the exuberant illustrations.
The two children tradeoff spreads. Interestingly, the boy wants to be a zookeeper, animal rescue volunteer, exotic bird breeder, safari tour guide, and the title’s lion tamer (all energetic careers), while the girl wants to be a pet groomer, dog walker, marine biologist, and veterinarian (all but the marine biologist are less adventurous than the boy’s choices). Personally, I don’t think kids will be harmed by this slightly sexist division of labor. I do know children they will love the details in each of Coburn’s spreads. Even when not said in the text, you just know these creatures are content.
I Want to Be a Lion Tamer would work much better as a picture book for children ages 4 to 8, though being a larger board book (8” X 8”), Coburn’s beautiful images have room to show-off. Teachers might find the series useful when discussing careers or, in the case of I Want to Be a Lion Tamer, animal care. By offering up nine animal-themed professions, I Want to Be a Lion Tamer will have young children—and their parents—thinking about their futures and maybe working in the field of animal care.
I WANT TO BE A LION TAMER (OR A VET . . . OR A ZOOKEEPER . . . OR A SAFARI GUIDE . . . .) Text copyright © 2015 by Ruby Brown. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Alisa Coburn. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, (© 2016) Kane Miller EDC Publishing, Tulsa, OK.
Find I Want to Be a Lion Tamer on Goodreads HERE.
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Originally published in Australia, by Chirpy Bird (an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont)
I WANT TO BE A LION TAMER. Illustrations © 2016 by Alisa Coburn. Used by permission of Kane Miller EDC Publishing.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: I Want to Be a Lion Tamer or a Vet . . . or a Zookeeper . . . or a Safari Guide . . . by Ruby Brown & Alisa Coburn, and received from Kane Miller EDC Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”