Riley is a school-aged child who doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. His older cousin, Joe, walks Riley through some of the professions people in his family have held. They talk about a chef, a jazz musician, a doctor and a fighter pilot. Through it all, the anchor refrain is that Riley can be anything he wants to be.
Thanks to the author and the SMC group for offering an electronic review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The illustrations by Elena Reinoso drew me into this story from the moment I saw it. The pieced-paper style is something I enjoy, and I think Riley is adorable!
Writing stories in verse is harder than it seems it would be. Either it’s hard to find a rhyme that works to say what you want to say in a particular section, or you find a rhyming word that fits the rhyme scheme but derails your meaning. There are moments in this book where the rhymes don’t line up with the pattern established in the rest of the story (unsure/more, idea/hear). This would be an amazing book to read out loud, which is where those rhymes really matter. I noted one other time when a rhyme worked (better/letter), but it made me stumble in my reading because the meaning of what the author wanted to convey was unclear at first. (This could be a difference in British vs. American phrasing, too.)
These issues could have been a big distraction to the story. But they were easily overlooked because the message of the book was so clear, and the illustrations are darling. I think it might have been nice to include female family members to show that Riley’s “anything” worked on jobs regardless of his gender. Overall, I think this would be a fun addition to a home library looking for books with diverse characters, or books with messages about freedom to choose any career.