I Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

Diane Dillon. Blue Sky, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-16690-3
The title of Caldecott Medalist Dillon’s first solo outing sounds as if it’s about dreaming big, but its real focus is on quieting the internal voice that undermines those dreams. “I’m a bird. I can fly way up high,” announces a girl named Zoe; she has brown skin, curly hair, and striped leggings. “What if you fall?” taunts the voice. “I won’t fall,” Zoe replies stoutly. She dreams of being an astronaut (Dillon paints her sharing cupcakes with an alien), an archaeologist, an inventor, and a veterinarian who has just bandaged a tiger’s paw. The main scenes, full of incident and detail, are framed by thick white borders, in which small vignettes show Zoe playing at what she wants to become—cooking on her toy stove or digging in the sand. As the pages turn, she gets braver: “You’re just a voice, and I don’t have to listen to you.” And she knows where her priorities are: “First I have to learn to read!” Armed with Zoe’s retorts, readers will grasp how their own doubts trip them up—and how to tell them to hush up. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 02/27/2018
Genre: Children's
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