From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3–A girl and a younger boy take turns imitating different animals, including a bear, a snake, and a dog. Each of the brief chapters is introduced by a title page with an illustration of a common object (a basket, a pull toy, etc.) decorated with a picture of or shaped like the creature in question and used throughout the vignette. For example, How to be a TURTLE opens with a sand pail with a turtle painted on it. The monkey section shows a book with a monkey on the cover, followed by the boy swinging from a tree, eating with his toes, copying the girl (who is trying to read the volume), and displaying curiosity. The final chapter, How to be a PERSON, shows both children embodying all the positive characteristics of the critters with the animals shadowing their actions. The last line reminds readers, Be yourself. The spare text matches the black-and-white drawings, supplemented with well-placed smatterings of bright paint. While the simplicity of the language and the artwork may appeal to toddlers, older preschoolers will appreciate the children's humorous antics. This striking picture book may also inspire school-age children to create their own versions of the story with different animals.–Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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PreS-Gr. 2. Part brother-sister farce, part how-to manual, this debut picture book encourages youngsters to emulate animals with uncommon style and wit. Six titled episodes ("How to Be a Bear," "How to Be a Spider") show knobby-kneed siblings demonstrating terse, often sly playacting instructions in restrained line-and-wash vignettes. To "shed . . . skin" like a snake, Sister struts in a bath towel, her bare-bottomed brother following her trail of discarded clothing; a later episode tells would-be canines to "lick someone," a tip that will delight youngsters even as it sends shudders through squeamish adults. Each sequence couples straightforward lines about animal behavior with a more abstract quality intended to capture the featured critter's inner essence. Not all of these resonate (how does "be[ing] charming," for instance, cause one to resemble a snake?), and the zoo antics are parlayed into a rather low-key, preachy message about being yourself. But children will recognize the broad playtime possibilities here, and they will be inspired to think of their own methods of getting in touch with their animal natures. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved