The Wonderful Things You Will Be

Book review by
Bess Maher, Common Sense Media
The Wonderful Things You Will Be Book Poster Image
Sweet what-to-be-when-you-grow-up book taps parental hopes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows kids various occupations.

Positive Messages

You can be and do anything. What you love to do could become your job when you grow up.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kids are shown painting, playing music, nurturing plants and animals, and sharing.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin, is a touching ode to childhood that expresses the hopes parents have for their children. Young readers will be drawn to the lively settings and delightful details in scenes featuring kids and animals dressed up in the garb of different occupations and frolicking in sometimes dreamy landscapes.

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What's the story?

THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE begins with an illustration of a mother and daughter holding hands and the line, "When I look at you, and you look at me, I wonder what wonderful things you will be," setting the tone for a meditation on parental love and expectations. The narrator wonders what possibilities lie in store for the child. Will it be in the realms of art, music, or medicine? What kind of person the child will become? Will the goodness seen in the child today continue to flourish?

Is it any good?

This gentle picture book has a sweet message told in soothing rhyme and truly beautiful art that’s at once nostalgic and modern. It's filled with lively artistic details, such as a mouse band that mimics the kids' rock band, a tin-can phone at a slumber party, and colorful hot air balloons floating over a dream landscape. The art, in subdued shades of blue, yellow, and red has a gently surprising relationship with the text. For instance, when the narrator wonders if her child will "take care of [much smaller] things,”"the complementing art includes a little blond boy with measuring tape wrapped around his shoulders sewing pants for a squirrel.

While the story is mainly a vehicle for parents to express their love and hopes for their children, young readers will also enjoy the pictures of kids dressed up in fun costumes (superheroes, bears, ballerinas) trying out different roles (musician, artist, veterinarian); the recurrence of woodland and wild creatures; and the cute details. Older children should also enjoy wondering what the future holds for them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the reader would like to be when he or she grows up. A musician? An artist? An actor or writer? A veterinarian or doctor? An inventor? What else?

  • What's special about the different kids in the story? What's special about you? Is there something you do really well?

  • How many balloons can you count in the book? How many stars? How many different kinds of animals?

Book details

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