cover image When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up

Tim Minchin, illus. by Steve Antony. Orchard, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-23384-1

Three children imagine that adult life means finally having the freedom to do everything they aren’t allowed or aren’t able to do as kids. They’ll be able to “eat sweets every day on the way to work” and go to bed late; they’ll be smart enough to know the answers and brave enough to “fight the creatures that you have to fight beneath your bed.” Antony’s color-washed line drawings sprawl across the pages, bright, cheerful, and the picture of abundance: there’s a grassy hilltop, a library stuffed with books, bedrooms filled with cozy quilts and pillows, and shopping carts stuffed with goodies. His characters may yearn for greater autonomy, and their picture of maturity may be skewed, but this world is a pretty benevolent place. And that’s the problem: readers are presented with a nice picture but not a very compelling journey. It’s a book most likely to be remembered for being, in tone and mood, pretty much the opposite of its source material: Minchin’s darkly wistful, tear-inducing second-act song from the musical Matilda. Ages 3–5. (Mar.)