3 out of 4 stars
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In Anything I Want by Jolene Menard, Charlotte Marie dreams about what she wants to do when she grows up. She hopes to help others, but she doesn't want to settle on a single career, and the rhyming story follows the adventure-loving and ambitious little girl's journey. Young readers will be inspired to dream big and work hard to accomplish their goals.
The 26-page picture book depicts characters of different races and features colorful, cartoonish illustrations that follow Charlotte's progress. At the beginning of the book, the reader sees thought bubbles reflecting her aspirations. As the story progresses, the images portray grown-up Charlotte in various career settings. The children's book addresses a variety of themes, such as family, identity, growing up, adventure, self-esteem, confidence, prayer, faith, perseverance, and helping others. Regarding faith, one page in the story refers to Charlotte saying prayers for guidance. However, it does not come across as preaching or lecturing.
I particularly like that Menard selects careers that aren't typically portrayed by girls in picture books, including soldiers, pilots, and firefighters. The book also emphasizes the importance of reading and writing well and going to college. Charlotte exemplifies helping others, setting goals, and hard work in an age-appropriate manner for young readers. However, Menard keeps the character relatable by including Charlotte's habit of sending letters home as well as her love for travel and exploring the ocean.
There isn't anything I dislike about the story, but it does need further editing. Although the PDF I read displayed a publisher's watermark, the nonsubjective errors I noted left me doubting that it was professionally edited. Young readers must see correct examples of punctuation and grammar.
Therefore, I rate Anything I Want three out of four stars. Its positive message will inspire children ranging from ages four to eight. The fun read-aloud story will also appeal to parents, teachers, and grandparents.
Anything I Want
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