For the Joy of Literacy!
Author: Karen Beaumont
Illustrator: Janet Stevens
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
It’s never too early to reinforce a healthy body image in our children. Though most of this should be taught through proper affection and modeling through the parents, books can also serve as wonderful supplements to any life lesson. In this case, “Wild About Us!” is the perfect fit for young children.
In fun and simple rhyme, Karen Beaumont introduces us to Warty Warthog, who happens to be very proud of his appearance. As he puts it, “can’t be who I’m not. I am who I am, and I’ve got what I’ve got.” The other animals at the zoo share the same sentiment. No one seems to worry about whether their ears stick out or whether their nose is too long. Wrinkly skin isn’t worrisome either, nor big feet . . . not even a hind-end that packs a bit of jiggle. They each appreciate their differences and accept how they’ve been made.
What a great lesson, and it is skillfully presented through just the right amount of humor in both text and illustration. Both my girls shared some giggles throughout the story, though its significance was not missed. As my seven-year-old reflected: “It’s showing you that you can be yourself. You don’t have to be like anyone else!”
The choice of zoo animals not only makes the page-turns fun to look at thanks to Janet Stevens, their practicality makes the lesson all the more convincing. It simply isn’t practical for an elephant to look like a flamingo, and that can be celebrated. As the story ends:
“We’re glad we’re all different!
It would be such a shame
If you came to the zoo . . .
and we all looked the same!”
So true! A 5-Star book for two to 10-year-olds!
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