Wild About Us

Cover

Written by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by Janet Stevens

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015

I’m Warty Warthog!

Can’t be who I’m not.

I am who I am

And I’ve got what I’ve got.

The plot in a nutshell: Animals celebrate their uniqueness.

Warty recognizes that his tusks and warts may look strange to others, but he also thinks they make him look cute in his own way. Crocodile digs his own big toothy smile and Rhino embraces her many wrinkles. Elephant is cool with his long nose, just as Giraffe is happy being tall. Nobody wants the flamingo to stop being pink or the pot-bellied pig to lose weight. Porcupine isn’t bothered about her appearance and Leopard isn’t fazed by his spots. Hippo is positively positive about her wiggly jiggly behind. Ape likes his big ears and Kangaroo likes her big feet. All the animals remark that it would be awful if they all looked the same.

Author Karen Beaumont takes a fun approach to self-esteem and body positivity in this pretty irresistible book for kids of all ages (including grownups). The rhymes have a very bouncy meter to them, making the book really fun to read aloud and using animals with interesting and/or weird features keeps kids engaged and entertained. I really liked this book and its message of self-acceptance, which is so important in raising kids who are confident and happy.

I love the dainty way she's holding her foot out. A prim little 3000 pound lady.

I love the dainty way she’s holding her foot out. A prim little 3,000 pound lady.

The artwork, from illustrator Janet Stevens, makes the book even more enjoyable, with all these animals beautifully drawn in watercolor and pencil. I love that the animals all appear to be really proud of whatever feature is being discussed (especially hippo, wiggling her behind), which comes across as full of encouragement towards the reader. On the title page, a fly zooms in from one side and he appears in every picture for the rest of the book, for those who like to look for things. This one is definitely recommended, particularly for those kids who need reminders that they’re great just as they are.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that all those little things you don’t like about yourself make you uniquely you and uniquely awesome.

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