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I Want to Be Somebody New! (Beginner Books(R)) Hardcover – January 27, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Spot, who in Put Me in the Zoo learned that he was better off performing in a circus than behind bars at the zoo, returns with his two human friends. Spot changes from elephant to giraffe to mouse, trying to find a new identity. But he discovers that every animal shape has its drawbacks. As an elephant Spot can't squeeze into his favorite chair; as a giraffe his friends can't see his face; as a mouse he can't reach the door to his house. Finally Spot's friends convince him that being somebody new is never going to feel as good as just being his same old, spot-juggling self. This intelligent, cheerful sequel, with its simple rhyming text, lives up to the reputation of its predecessor. The art, which hasn't changed since the first book was published (1960), has a dated, but familiar look.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1 After a hiatus exceeding some 25 years, Spot, the main character in Put Me in the Zoo (Random, 1960) reappears. Spot is not happy with himself, and he magically transforms himself into an elephant, a giraffe, and finally a mouse. It takes the girl and the boy whom Spot first met when he wanted to be in the zoo to convince Spot that they like him best when he is being himself. Although the familiar trademarks of this series, brightly colored illustrations and simple rhyming sentences, remain unchanged, the book has several flaws. The theme of self acceptance is quite admirable, but when Spot appears as an elephant, his friends point out that he's too fat, as a giraffe he is too tall, and as a mouse too small. Those children who see themselves in the above descriptions might actually be getting the reverse message from what the story is trying to convey. A book that might pose problems to children who are sensitive about their physical appearance. Tom S. Hurlburt, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Series: Beginner Books(R)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394876164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394876160
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book upon the recommendation of a preschool curriculum I was interested in for homeschooling. The overall idea of the book is great...be happy with yourself the way you are made. However, it uses the phrases, "We don't like you fat. We like you thin." This quote is from the children trying to convince the suess character that he shouldn't be an elephant and that he should stay what he is (whatever that is). I just felt uncomfortable reading this. I don't want my children to look at someone that is overweight and EVER think or say that they don't like them because they are fat!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not like the message given inthisbook to kids about how much they disliked spot because he was "fat, tall, little". I get the overall message that they like him best as he started out, no need to change, but the way it is presented is not good. Also, pictures are not as cute as in first book and writinging not as nice. Overall a disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Put Me In The Zoo, so I picked this up used without really reading it through. Well, it's a dollar I'm never getting back...!

Spot, who is better off in the circus than the zoo (seriously, read the original, because it rocks) is bored with being himself, so he decides to play around and change shapes. Will he be an elephant? A giraffe? A mouse?

We already know the ending - he's going to find out that his own shape is best. The only thing now is to find out WHY his own shape is best.

Well, it's not best because he can do things in that shape, or because other people are familiar with it, or because it's just a nice shape to be in, or even because he has opposable thumbs. It's best because elephants are too fat to go on see-saws, because birds nest in giraffe's ears (???) and because people put out traps to catch mice. Oh, and because his juvenile friends are judgmental brats who don't love their friend for who he is and support him in this crisis but tell him "We don't like you like that" every time.

Sheesh. I'm not sure if I even want to give this one away, but I guess it'll be less of a pain in a full classroom of books where each kid reads it about once or twice instead of over and over again.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a mixed opinion about this book. Spot, the main character, isn't happy with himself and so transforms himself into different animals: an elephant, a giraffe, and a mouse, but finally his friends convince him that they like him much more when he is himself.

I like the final message of the story: like yourself for who you are, but I don't really care for the way in which this message is conveyed. It's not that Spot discovers that he doesn't need to change to please others or himself, but on the contrary he finds that his friends are very judging about his new shapes: they don't like the elephant cause he's fat, the giraffe is too tall and the mouse is too small.

Children can be very harsh with their opinions without introducing a book that encourages this. As I said, the final message is great, but I think there are better ways of getting there.

However, my son likes this book. It's not his favorite but he does pick it up once in a while. He's 3y.o. and especially likes saying along with me the magic words "one, two, three, now look and tell me what you see" as Spot transforms himself each time.

Truthfully, however, I don't recommend it. There are better children books out there. On a similar subject I prefer for example "Happy birthday to you!" by Dr. Seuss, which celebrates the fact of being oneself "I am what I am! That's a great thing to be! If I say so myself, happy birthday to me!"
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By A Customer on March 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun rhyming book with the message that while changing into something different can be fun, it is just best to be yourself. The problem I have with the book is when the main character, Spot, changes into an elephant. The children respond with "You're very big, you're very fat. We do not care for you like that." I'm not sure that's a great message for kids to be hearing. They can be judgemental enough without planting the seed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our son loves "Put Me in the Zoo" so we were excited to get the next Spot book. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The beginner books by Robert Lopshire are not "twaddle." They (New Tricks I Can Do and Put Me in the Zoo) are wonderful for primer and level 1 readers. The kids fall in love with the stories and want to read them over and over!

My Title I kids THANK YOU for a used book in excellent condition!
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Format: Hardcover
Like some of the other parents have said, this book is very judgmental. I'm thinking of writing a follow up book, one more for contemporary audiences.
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