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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Imagination is a powerful tool and dreams can come true – within reason, of course. When a little girl’s Nana asks her what she wants to be when she grows up, she replies, “A unicorn.” Can people grow up to be something other than a grown-up person? Nana ponders this and gives some sound advice, “Remember you can make your dreams come true by believing in yourself. You can be whatever you want if you imagine it. You can do it!” The little girl was thrilled and started imagining all kinds of creatures she could be when she grew up and what she would be able to do if she imagined hard enough.
Deborah Lucero’s picture book story, I Can Be Whatever I Want, is a simple enough story with a lot of imagination, but also with a powerful message: believe in yourself. The story begins with Nana’s question and the little girl’s proclamation which evolves in her imagining and dreaming of becoming all kinds of wonderful animals and all the things she’d be able to do. With simple language, lots of dialogue and colorful illustrations, the plot develops with fun and adventure and, of course, a vivid imagination. This book will definitely encourage young readers to think and dream big, to imagine and to believe in themselves. For, as Nana explains, we might dream of growing up to be a mermaid, but when we grow up, we might write fascinating stories about mermaids instead. Dreams can alter, but they’re still dreams and all we have to do is believe. A wonderful story, full of fun and energy and creative ideas.