4 out of 4 stars
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Baby bird watches his friends and wishes he had their abilities to swim, run, and jump. Be Happy to Be You by Diane Hull is a children's picture book that follows the little bird's story as he learns to appreciate his own gifts and talents while finding joy in who he is.
Baby bird wishes he could swim in the river like his fish friends. If only he could run like the horses in the fields or jump like the frogs on the lily pads, he would be happy. Each time he admires others' abilities, his mother reminds him that he has special gifts of his own and encourages him, "Be happy to be you." It's not until the little bird gets sick and is unable to do the things that usually come naturally to him that he learns to appreciate his unique gifts and daily routine. Young readers, as well as adults, will relate to his journey to learn self-acceptance, joy, and contentment.
I really enjoyed reading this sweet picture book that emphasizes the value of being comfortable in your own skin--or in this case, feathers. The story is creatively written, edited, and beautifully illustrated. I find that artwork can make or break a quality children's book, and the colorful illustrations by Jan Dolby definitely enhanced the story.
Baby bird's character reflects vulnerability and insecurity making him relatable to young children. At the same time, young readers will find the encouraging mother's character reassuring. I particularly appreciate the way Hull uses the simple story to convey the importance of both accepting ourselves, as well as appreciating our unique abilities and talents. Since comparison is human nature, haven't we all wrestled with this concept at one time or another? This delightful book provides a fun way to teach this crucial lesson to young children without preaching.
The only weakness that could be considered regarding this story is that multiple variations on the topic have been published. Sadly, wanting to be someone other than ourselves and desiring others' talents are common themes in our society. Even so, there's a reason for the popularity of the subject, and I found Hull's style of addressing it to be creative and relatable to young children.
I'm happy to rate this entertaining children's story 4 out of 4 stars. It's always a pleasure to read an error-free book. I recommend it to the parents, grandparents, and teachers of young children. Additionally, the universal themes of self-acceptance and individuality will appeal to the adults reading it, as well.
Be Happy To Be You
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