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How to Be Hardcover – May 9, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060546352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060546359
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 10 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LISA BROWN is the bestselling author and/or illustrator of a growing number of books, including "How to Be," "The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming," and "Baby Mix Me a Drink." She draws the Three Panel Book Review cartoon for the book section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Lisa lives in San Francisco with her son and her husband, who is rumored to be Lemony Snicket.

Lisa Brown's latest book is "Picture the Dead," by Adele Griffin, an illustrated Civil War era ghost story for young adults. Her next picture book for children is "Vampire Boy's Good Night," which will be published in time for Halloween, 2010.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a rare find: a picture book that successfully moralizes and charms at the same time. The siblings in the book, who interact almost entirely via the pictures, manage to be endearing and feel realistic at the same time. Plus they have an entertaining sense of mischief. It is a big hit in our house, even with a three and five year old who would rather play superheroes than read stories most of the time, much to my own chagrin.

Tony
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Format: Hardcover
I shared this book with my eighth graders as we were discussing families. Each student wrote a poem about how to be the ___ family. We put these in a booklet that each student gets to take home and share with his or her family. It's a wonderful book to use as a springboard to writing poetry and talking about a variety of topics.
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Format: Hardcover
Lots of white space, simple illustrations, and few, but powerful words make this picture book an excellent choice for young gifted readers. Each section advises how to be a particular animal, using flavorful verbs like "slither" and "growl" and then assigns an adjective like "charming." But this isn't just a vocabulary builder. It ends with how to be a person and combines all of the sterling qualities of the animals in the book, and it concludes with the friendly admonition to be yourself. This would be a terrific activity for the beginning of school. A teacher could ask each child to create directions for how to be him or her, imitating the style of the story.
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Format: Hardcover
"How to Be" is a book that teaches and entertains at the same time. Lisa Brown cleverly uses the various traits of different animals to show children good qualities in people. The book takes children through `how to be' seven different animals - with the seventh being humans. The illustrated title pages give children an opportunity to think about each featured animal and then tell what they know about the animal's behaviors. Then, when they turn the pages, they get to see if they were right. Lisa Brown's humorous and thought provoking illustrations are another source of entertainment for children while they learn about animals and themselves as a people and individuals. My four-year-old granddaughter loves the illustrations of children acting out each animal's behavior. She also enjoys when the children and animals join together in the "How to be a Person" section. This is a good read-together book. However, the simple and entertaining illustrations also make it a book that children can enjoy looking at alone.

Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa
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Format: Hardcover
"How to be" is charming and engaging for a child to read and discover acting like different animals, but still being a kid. Lisa Brown follows two children (brother and sister) as they transition from the beach/lake to going home. Each animal has a different color and at the end she blends them all into one theme. I recently had the fortune of listening to Ms. Brown speak at a children' writers conference. She brings a unique sense of character to each of her books. I look forward to reading more of her books.
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Format: Hardcover
My neice is 4 and loves her books. My sister & husband have a tough time finding good ones, but agreed that this book was terrific. It used the word, "creative," a lot - which was just introduced to my neice's vocabulary. They really don't like a lot of childrens books, but loved this one. Good for bright kids!
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Format: Hardcover
This book has it all - wit, beautiful illustrations and a great message all presented in a format that will appeal to children of all ages, as well as their parents. Check out Lisa Brown's board books in the Baby Be of Use series too.
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