cover image When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up

Julie Chen, illus. by Diane Goode. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9719-0

As a mother helps her young son get ready for bed—tugging off his shoes and shirt, dragging a brush through his tousled hair—he wonders aloud what the future holds. “Will I be funny or smart?” he asks. “Do you think I’ll live near or far?” But most of his questions center on vocation: perhaps he’ll become a baker who makes “the world a sweeter place to live,” or maybe a mayor who “let[s] kids run the town.” As they snuggle together, Mom assures him that the future is wide open, and “No matter what, I will always be there for you.” Chen, a news anchor and TV host making her picture book debut, offers a well-trod litany of choices for her protagonist. But she is fortunate in her collaborator: nimble, airy watercolor drawings by Goode (Founding Mothers) give the increasingly sleepy child a passel of richly imagined fantasies, showcased against bright white backgrounds, and teams him up with an adoring dachshund sidekick that’s game for anything, whether the boy is imagining a future in space or atop a mountain. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) [/em]